NTMWD Plant Smart 2024

House, Senate bills show disparate visions of tax relief

by | May 7, 2015 | Opinion

By Ed Sterling

Legislation approved by the House and Senate last week reveal widely differing views on how to bring about tax relief to Texans in fiscal years 2016 and 2017.

Speaker Joe Straus lauded the preliminary approval of House Bill 31, legislation to reduce the state sales tax from 6.25 percent to 5.95 percent, resulting in a $2.66 billion revenue decrease, and House Bill 32, legislation cutting the franchise tax paid by many businesses by 25 percent and resulting in a statewide revenue decrease of $2.56 billion. Both bills were written by House Ways and Means Chair Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, along with several members credited as coauthors.

The bills, in combination, are intended to provide a form of tax relief that would be insulated from the powers of local taxing entities and appraisal districts. Straus said the House “looks forward to a productive conversation with the Senate about how best to deliver results on this issue and the many others that matter to our economy and to Texas families.”

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, on the other hand, praised the Senate’s preliminary approval of Senate Bill 1760 authored by Freshman Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe. “Sen. Creighton’s bill gives homeowners the ability to hold local government accountable for the demands they place on taxpayers,” Patrick said, and called the measure “another step in an overall plan to reduce property taxes for homeowners and businesses.”

SB 1760 would, if adopted by the House in its present form:

– Remove the requirement that taxpayers due a refund have to apply for it;

– Increase the interest rate on refunds due to taxpayers to 9.5 percent;

– Require local taxing entities to justify the necessity of a tax increase on notices and election ballots;

– Allow a court hearing an appraisal dispute to give preference to the testimony of an independent licensed appraiser;

– Require the state comptroller to compile and annually publish a ranked list of tax rates by entity; and

– Require a local governmental body that wishes to exceed the effective tax rate to first have a vote of at least 60 percent of the governing body in support of the tax increase.

Bills aim to retool certification

Speaker Straus on April 27 welcomed the House’s passage of HB 6, HB 7 and House Joint Resolution 111, measures that work together toward undoing the state’s practice of using general revenue-dedicated balances for certifying other parts of the state budget.

“For more than two decades the state increasingly collected billions of dollars in fees for one purpose, but then used that money instead to certify spending in other areas of the budget,” Straus explained in a news release from his office. “The House began working to end that practice almost three years ago, and in the 2013 session, the Legislature reduced the use of dedicated funds for budget certification by nearly $1 billion.

“This session, the House is well on its way to reducing that amount even further, from $4.5 billion to $2.9 billion. And if voters approve HJR 111, which the House passed today, we will end this practice altogether in the coming years.”

Senate approves ethics bill

On April 28, the Senate approved SB 19, an omnibus bill that includes multiple initiatives from the governor’s emergency item on ethics reform.

Written by freshman Sen. Van Taylor, R-Dallas, the bill expands personal financial statement reporting requirements for each state officer, elected official or candidate to include the disclosure of written contracts for goods or services with governmental entities if the aggregate value of those contracts exceeds $10,000 per reporting year.

SB 19 also contains various provisions to curb perceived conflicts of interest, such as a prohibition against a person who is registered as a lobbyist from serving in elective office unless that person is an elected officer for a political subdivision with a population of 150,000 or less, or the presiding officer of a political subdivision of 50,000 or less, provided they do not receive a salary or wage from the political subdivision.

Texas to reciprocate with Ohio

Gov. Greg Abbott on April 28 issued an official proclamation that the state of Texas now recognizes valid concealed handgun licenses issued on or after March 23, 2015 by the state of Ohio as long as Ohio licensees comply with all Texas laws, rules and regulations governing the use and carrying of concealed handguns.

Photos online

0 Comments

Public Notice - Subscribe

Related News

Comic Relief

Comic Relief

People use different ways to learn to read. Some folks use the vowels and consonants method. Others memorize how the words look.  I used both, but I had a secret weapon many didn’t know about.  Comic books.  While most kids were having, “Fun with Dick...

read more
35 Texas counties eligible for individual disaster aid

35 Texas counties eligible for individual disaster aid

Residents in a total of 35 Texas counties now qualify for individual disaster assistance following a series of severe storms and flooding that began in late April, The Dallas Morning News reported. “I thank our federal partners and emergency response personnel across...

read more
Texas could face long-term water supply deficit

Texas could face long-term water supply deficit

Texas is facing a reckoning on water that we must address if the state wants to secure its future prosperity. The State Water Plan prepared by the Texas Water Development Board projects that Texas faces a long-term water supply deficit of 6.9 million acre-feet in 50...

read more
Hogging the channels

Hogging the channels

 I have a lot of my grandparents in me. I’m cheap. I also love the Arkansas Razorbacks. Nowhere is this truer than when it comes to radio, television, and an Arkansas game. I grew up listening to free radio and watching free television. So, the idea of paying...

read more
Laundry: There’s more than one way to fold

Laundry: There’s more than one way to fold

You would think that there’s only one way to fold towels. But, you’d be wrong. Growing up in Ashdown, Arkansas, my momma showed me how to fold them, as well as shirts, socks, underpants, and other personal sundries. I assumed that this skillset would carry me all the...

read more
The Lawn Moore

The Lawn Moore

America really is The Land of Opportunity. Even if there’s only one opportunity, and that opportunity is cutting the grass.  Ashdown, Arkansas, was a pretty typical small American town in the 1960s and 1970s.  Kids weren’t just handed things. If we wanted...

read more
A myth understanding

A myth understanding

In the South, we believed with all of our hearts what we were told when we were children. Even if it was wrong. In the 1960s, the RCA color console TV my family had on Beech Street in Ashdown, Arkansas, could make you go blind. It could if you believed what our mom...

read more
On the road again and again

On the road again and again

Back in the 60s, some American college kids protested the Vietnam War, but mostly, they conducted sit-ins. Few protests were violent. Other American college kids would have contests to see how many of them they could cram into a Volkswagen. Today, some college kids...

read more
Aisle be seeing you

Aisle be seeing you

As a child growing up in Ashdown, Arkansas, we had two main grocery stores. Shur-Way and Piggly Wiggly. Or as my dad called it, “Hoggly Woggly.” A trip to the store was like each TV commercial had come to life. Advertising agencies at the time were very good at what...

read more
Just plane fun

Just plane fun

My wife and I are scheduled for an Alaskan cruise in the fall. By all accounts, it’s something to which we should look forward. I’ve been told the same thing about other trips, including a Vegas excursion that included a stay at a strip motel that still had beds that...

read more
Public Notice - Subscribe