Texas Lawmakers Break Tax Proposal Into Four Bills

April 17, 2006

Four bills were filed in the Texas House of Representatives to kick off the first day of the third called special session of the 79th Legislature. The bills make up the major components of the tax plan developed by a commission led by former state comptroller John Sharp, and have been divided up to better facilitate House and Senate passage.

Under a fifth bill filed April 17 all revenue raised by the bills would go to school district property tax relief

“Since we only have 30 days, separating the Commission’s proposals into several bills will allow the House to manage them more efficiently,” Speaker Tom Craddick said. “It will ensure that we remain within the Governor’s call, and it will allow the public to easily follow each recommendation that is embodied in these bills.

House Bill 1, sponsored by Rep. Warren Chisum (Pampa), Rep. Rob Eissler (The Woodlands) and Rep. Dan Branch (Dallas), buys down property taxes $0.17 in the first year. The bill would go into effect this year.

House Bill 3, sponsored by Rep. Jim Keffer (Eastland), Rep. John Otto (Dayton) and Rep. Vilma Luna (Corpus Christi) revises the franchise tax provisions in Texas to ensure that each business that is subject to the tax pays its fair share. Under the new plan the primary franchise tax rate will be lowered from 4.5 percent to 1 percent. This will bring an estimated $3.8 billion to the state from businesses that currently avoid paying the franchise tax.

House Bill 4, sponsored by Rep. David Swinford (Dumas) tightens the language and the requirements for the sale of motor vehicles so they state the proper amount of revenue from these transactions.

House Bill 5, sponsored by Rep. Peggy Hamric (Houston), increases the tax on the sale of tobacco products to raise additional revenue for property tax relief. Raising the tax to $1 could bring an estimated $623 million to the state in 2007.

A fifth bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Pitts (Waxahachie) – House Bill 2 – will dedicate all the revenue raised to school district property tax relief.

Source: Texas House of Representatives

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