Thursday, November 2, 2017

IN CURRENT FORM, Brady's Tax Bill a TANGIBLE (if incomplete) step in right direction....

"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
When it is in the power of your hand to do so."
Proverbs 3:27

Obviously the details of Kevin Brady's tax bill remain in flux, but we have to confess something we weren't expecting: We kinda like some of the features in the outline.

Specifically, we like that Brady's proposal begins to reign in the deduction for local property taxes and we also like that Brady's proposing limits on mortgage interest moving forward.

Anyone who regularly reads this website knows that the City of Austin's asinine land use policies and runaway property taxes across the state of Texas are two of our biggest bugaboos.  Unfortunately, it's impossible to overlook the role federal tax policy plays in incentivizing each.  Thankfully, in Brady's bill, the two provisions we mentioned above will begin to change that incentive structure.

To be honest, Brady's bill reminds us of the property tax bill the Texas Senate considered this session.  It wasn't everything we need, but it was a tangible step in the right direction.  Capping the property tax and mortgage interest deductions is the equivalent of creating automatic rollback elections; we can always come back and lower the threshold at a later date.

The one thing we would like to see added is to limit the mortgage interest deduction to a primary residence.  It would be similar to homestead exemptions at the state level.  That way we could stop subsidizing fourth, fifth, and sixth homes for rich liberals.

Of course, the Texas Senate's property tax bill also offers a cautionary tale about political reality.  While it passed the Senate twice, it got gutted into meaninglessness in the House.  At the federal level, it wouldn't surprise us to see Mitch McConnell play the Joe Straus role.

Who says we can't be pleasantly surprised?!?

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