State Rep. Bryan Slaton (R-Greenville) has filed House Bill 2889, which would roll back all property taxes for Texans with ten children.
With more than $30 billion in surplus tax revenue being bartered about in this session of the Texas Legislature, top Republicans have made it clear that some form of property tax relief is a major priority. However, the final form of the relief is yet to be determined.
Under Slaton’s bill, married couples with four children, including adopted ones, would receive a 40 percent property tax credit. At ten or more children, the tax credit would be 100 percent. The bill clarifies that the couple must stay married.
“With this bill, Texas will start saying to couples: ‘Get married, stay married, and be fruitful and multiply,’” said Slaton in a press release.
At first glance, Slaton’s bill looks like part of the recent pro-family movement Texas Republicans have been considering since the fall of Roe v. Wade and the near-total ban on abortion in the state. Last session, the state extended the time new parents could receive postpartum Medicaid coverage to six months while still refusing to fully expand coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Far right advocacy groups like Texas Right to Life and the Texas Public Policy Foundation have been petitioning lawmakers to buff it again to a full year this session.
Slaton’s bill likely has more to do with his extreme religious views. Slaton, who is a former minister, is one of the state’s most fervent conservative culture warriors when it comes to painting regressive polices as Christian dogma. It’s Slaton who has proposed banning minors from all drag events, something that could potentially outlaw trans people from being around children at all, depending on how the law is written or interpreted. Slaton has spent much of his time in the state legislature tacking on various anti-LGBT amendments to bills as part of his ideological crusade.
On top of that, he’s been connected to Jake Neidert, a Christian nationalist who has called for trans people to be executed in the streets. Neidert formerly worked as an intern for Slaton before getting hired as legislative director for State Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R-Arlington), Slaton’s close partner in many bills aimed at curtailing the rights of LGBT people.
A significant part of modern Christian extremism is large families, sometimes known as the quiverfull movement. The practice is rooted in white supremacy and the idea that white Christians must birth an army of God. As Rick Pidcock put it in Baptist News, “The themes of patriarchy and white supremacy paired with the fear of feminism and non-white people were laying the groundwork for what would be considered the American biblical family.”
Because of their many children and the fact that most of these doctrines prohibit women from working outside the home, quiverfull families often live in crushing poverty. Malnutrition and child abuse (including sexual abuse) are rampant, but seen as an acceptable price to pay for building platoons of highly indoctrinated children.
Slaton has no overt connection to the quiverfull movement or the major figures in it, such as Bill Gothard or the Duggar family, but his bill certainly codifies and blesses their belief systems.