Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Property Taxes in the Texas State Legislature

In the political blog, Empower Texans, Michael Quinn Sullivan discusses the issue of property taxes in Texas and the steps the Republican Party of Texas is attempting to make to resolve the issue. Michael Quinn Sullivan is a distinguished writer and was named one of the 25 most influential Texans by Texas Monthly. Sullivan is a former newspaper reporter, Capital Hill staffer, and current president of Empower Texans.

In Sullivan's post titled, "GOP Battle Brewing Over Texas Taxes", Sullivan attempts to enlighten Texans of the current topic of property taxes in the Texas state legislature. Currently in the legislature, Republican State Representative Harvey Hilderbran has said that he wants "to begin the process of abolishing residential and commercial property taxes." The Republican party would achieve this by "shifting the tax burden to a consumption-based tax.” Hilderbran has met opposition in Republican State Representative Jim Keffer, who had a study conducted that claims "sales taxes would double, local control of local government be abolished, and food and medicine taxed." Sullivan tells both sides of the story, but obviously sides with the more conservative view of Hilderbran. Sullivan ridules Keffer for fighting his own party and backs his argument saying " Mr. Keffer has tried – and failed – to lower property taxes using variations of income and business taxes. He once authored legislation to impose a payroll tax on Texas, which died in no small part due to its similarities to an income tax. He later was the author of the now-imposed Gross Margins Tax – an inefficient, complicated tax that hurts small business." Ultimately, Sullivan argues that while tax cuts are what voters expect from the GOP, Texas doesn't have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. He backs this stating "general spending has grown more than twice as fast as the combined rate of population and inflation." While I agree with Sullivan's analysis of the problem, I'm not sure how I feel about a consumption-based tax  and think it could possibly affect some businesses and peoples' spending. However, with a large percentage of Texas voters being Republicans, most will want to see lower taxes and better allocation of those funds.

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