Friday, May 3, 2019

#TXLEGE: Either they think we're stupid. Or they actually ARE stupid. Neither is good.

"The wise in heart will receive commands,
But a prating fool will fall."
Proverbs 10:8

What could POSSIBLY go wrong?!?
The top leaders at the Texas Capitol reaffirmed Friday that they were determined not just to constrain property tax growth going forward, but actually to cut property tax bills.

Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, R-Lake Jackson, said they supported allowing voters to decide whether to increase the state’s sales tax by one percentage point to buy down property tax rates.

“If we’re able to pass a sales tax increase that will be dedicated to driving down property taxes, (property) taxes are going to be less next year than they were this year,” Abbott said at a press conference.

Democrats, who could play a spoiler role, reiterated their opposition to the move, which they say would not be a good deal for poor or middle income Texans.

The House could vote on House Joint Resolution 3 by Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, which would increase the state sales tax pending approval by voters, sometime next week. The measure also presumably is linked to key property tax relief provisions in the latest version of House Bill 3, another legislative priority that would direct more money to schools and updates school funding formulas.

HJR 3 would need the approval of two thirds of each chamber. In the Senate, two Democrats would have to join all 19 Republicans. Two Republicans — Sens. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, and Bob Hall, R-Edgewood — have expressed opposition to a tax increase. Bettencourt said he would prefer to raise revenue in other ways and has said tax swaps don’t work.

In the House, 17 Democrats would have to vote with all [83] Republicans for passage.

With the House Ways and Means Committee modifying the measure to no longer dedicate some of the increased sales tax money to schools — now, as written, every dollar goes to the property tax buydown — Democratic votes could be harder to come by.

House Democratic Caucus chairman Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, told the American-Statesman that there are “at least” 60 no votes among Democrats. They won’t vote to increase the sales tax, he said, because it’s among “the most regressive taxes.”
This has both public policy AND political disaster written all over it.


Public Policy Disaster:

The biggest policy problem with this proposal is that Texas' current statewide leadership has zero credibility.

In that environment, we have no reason to believe that we won't end up with both a higher sales tax AND the property tax status quo.

Make no mistake: Moving, over the long run, from property to consumption taxes is still a good idea.  The legislature entered this session with plenty of money for a significant down payment.  They had a plan they could adopt.

Instead, lawmakers chose to spend astronomical amounts of money on...basically nothing.

This sales tax hike is a belated CYA attempt...and, as such, it should be rejected.

Furthermore, when it comes to the sales tax, you can also eliminate exemptions.  There was potential consensus on this idea early in the session.  The problem, of course, is that each of those exemptions has a lobbyist/trade group defending them.  Thus, eliminating sales tax exemptions "is too hard."

So we get this hot mess of a proposal.

We're reminded of late 90's Chris Rock:

Can you come up with a better comparison?!?


Political Disaster:

That Chris Turner quote speaks for itself.

The TV commercials/online videos, likewise, write themselves.

Do Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick, and Dennis Bonnen really want to be the face of this debacle?!?


Bottom Line: D-E-B-A-C-L-E

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