Most Texans’ Wallets Would Suffer Under State GOP Leaders’ Tax Swap, Democrats Warn

AUSTIN -- State GOP leaders' plan to add a penny to the sales tax to reduce property taxes would hurt low- and moderate-income Texans, three veteran House Democrats warned on Monday.Under the Republicans' "tax swap" legislation, 144 of the House's 150 members are from districts where more people would see a net tax increase than a net tax decrease, the Democrats said.The swap would hurt renters, especially, the Democrats said. And it would spoil what has been a productive spirit of bipartisanship this session on overhauls of school finance, property taxes and the Robin Hood system of wealth sharing among school districts, one said."If you are making less than $100,000 in your household, you will lose," said Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer.The San Antonio Democrat, a member of the House's tax-writing panel, has vociferously opposed the swap proposal advanced by Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Speaker Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton.The GOP leaders have called for increasing the state's sales tax rate to 7 ¼ cents, from 6 ¼ cents now. They say doing so would allow lawmakers to bring noticeable and permanent relief to homeowners and businesses on their school property taxes.But Martinez Fischer and fellow Democrats Donna Howard of Austin and Garnet Coleman of Houston said that the GOP leaders' swap would make Texas' tax system more unfair."We have $43 billion in tax loopholes," Martinez Fischer noted at a Capitol news conference. "If we're looking for $5 billion, we should start here."Howard, an experienced member of the House's budget-writing panel, said, "Texas sales tax rate is already high, 12th in the nation."  Continue reading...

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