AUSTIN – I appreciate the hard work of Ways and Means Chairman, Representative Dennis Bonnen. However, his plan, that does not include any property tax relief to homeowners, is out of step with Texans, my office, the Senate and the Governor, who said in his State of the State address, “I will reject any budget that does not include genuine tax relief to Texas employers and job creators. I will also insist on property tax reduction. It’s time for property owners – not government – to truly own their property.”
For a more specific apples-to-apples comparison, based on our effort to provide significant tax relief immediately, and live within the limits of our existing budget, the Texas Senate’s proposed $4.6 billion tax relief package (SB 1, 7 and 8) does the following:
- Provides immediate tax relief to struggling homeowners and Texas businesses while the House proposal delays any sales tax relief until January 1, 2016;
- Fully pays for all tax cuts proposed, within current budget spending limits, for homeowners and businesses with $1.3 billion remaining under the spending cap, while the method of paying for the House proposal is still unclear;
- Is consistent with Governor Greg Abbott’s budget plan* providing relief to Texas property owners at a time when Texas is experiencing the 5th highest property tax rates in the nation (Source: http://www.housingwire.com/articles/33468-these-10-states-have-the-highest-property-taxes);
- Decreases the reliance on the state franchise tax which the Senate is working to abolish while the House’s reduction of sales tax would require even more franchise tax reliance, thus putting an even greater burden on Texas businesses;
- Exempts an additional 61,000 Texas businesses from any franchise tax burden while the House plan’s author says, “we see no need to carve out new exemptions”;
- Provides an estimated $442 in two-year savings to Texas homeowners while the House claims to provide an estimate of $43 per person per year (per the House’s claim of a $172 savings for a family of four from a sales tax rate reduction); also, not everyone paying sales taxes in Texas can claim to be Texans, although homestead owners are Texans by definition.
The Texas Senate and I look forward to working with the House and Governor Abbott to iron out our differences in the best interest of all Texans to provide tax relief as quickly as possible.