HB 59 Testimony — Ways and Means

The House Ways & Means Committee will soon hear a very dangerous proposal – HB 59 by Rep. Andrew Murr – which would almost completely eliminate the school property tax that is the foundation for supporting our public schools. To replace this essential source of revenue, a committee would be appointed to consider creating new taxes or increasing existing consumption taxes, like the sales tax. Relying on consumption taxes to reduce school property tax rates is the wrong approach for two major reasons. First, sales taxes and similar taxes are volatile, so further linking growing school enrollment to an erratic tax is misguided. Second, consumption taxes, by their very nature, take the most from Texans who have the least, placing extra barriers in front of families working toward the middle class. This is because low and moderate-income families spend a much larger portion of their income on goods subject to the sales tax, outweighing any property tax savings. The net result of making schools more reliant on consumption taxes would unavoidably be higher taxes on all households except for the 20 percent of families with annual incomes of roughly $157,000. Read the full testimony here.
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