Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Wants a Sales Tax Swap. Democrats Hate It — and So Do Conservatives

AUSTIN -- A plan to increase Texas’ sales tax as a means of lowering property taxes -- which was touted as a priority by the state’s three most powerful Republican leaders -- has been under attack since the moment after it was announced last week.Predictably, Democratic leaders rushed to criticize the policy for being punitive to the state’s poorest families. But some of the most intense opposition has come from conservatives, who are framing the issue as a Republican tax hike.“The proposed sales tax hike would take the state in the wrong and opposite direction by imposing an overall increase in the state tax burden,” anti-tax advocate and founder of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist wrote to members of the Texas House Ways and Means committee.The House committee on Wednesday will hear House Joint Resolution 3 by Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Humble, which would increase the state sales tax by an additional cent to generate about $5 billion for the two-year budgeting period. The proposal would lower property tax rates and create some additional funding for schools.“Such a tax swap would result in a harmful net tax hike at a time when the state already has a budget surplus,” Norquist wrote, urging the members to vote against Huberty’s bill.Last week, Republican leaders Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen released a joint statement throwing their support behind increasing the sales tax as a means of giving Texans additional property tax relief.“If the one-cent increase in the sales tax passes, it will result in billions of dollars in revenue to help drive down property taxes in the long and short term,” they wrote in their statement.  Continue reading...

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