No Vote Expected on Texas Sales Tax Swap Plan, Suggesting Trouble for Bill

AUSTIN -- A bill that would increase the state sales tax by a penny as a means to reduce property taxes for home and business owners is no longer expected to be voted on today -- as originally scheduled -- suggesting troubled waters for the measure. "I don't expect it to come to a vote today," said Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, as he exited a House Republican Caucus meeting. He wouldn't disclose the details of what was discussed in the meeting, but he said he believes his Republican colleagues largely supported the bill. Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie and the House Democratic Caucus chairman, said he was also told by colleagues that the bill will not come up today. "If they're not moving forward with it today it's because they don't have the votes," Turner said. "If they don't have the voted today, I don't see how they'd have them at a later date."Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Humble, who authored the bill, did not attend the caucus meeting, and said Tuesday morning that he was not sure whether the plan would get a vote on. "I don't know yet," he said, adding that he was hopeful. "I think it's the right thing to do."On Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen held a Hail Mary press conference to express their continued, emphatic support for a sales tax increase to lower property taxes as the final days of the Legislative session wind down. The bill has been voted out of committee, but has not gotten a vote in either chamber.The sales tax increase is being cast as revenue neutral by proponents -- because every dollar raised would be applied to lowering property tax rates. But an analysis by the Legislative Budget Board found that low and moderate income Texans would be paying more in total taxes.   Continue reading...

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