Texas Education

Blog on Texas Education

Plan uses sales-tax hike to pay for schools

Posted by Texas Education on July 9, 2008

More news out of Austin. The Elpaso Times Brandi Grissom comments from the Austin Bureau. Dan Patrick, who has been very vocal on this subject,

“We need to go back to square one,” said state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston.

Patrick and other conservatives propose abolishing school property taxes, starting over on Texas’ much-maligned new business tax and increasing and expanding the sales tax. The sales tax, they say, would be a more fair and more transparent tax for Texans. Proponents say their plan would provide a much simpler way to raise and distribute the $30 billion Texas pays for public schools each year.

But it’s a plan critics call unworkable and unfair, especially for the middle class and working poor in communities such as El Paso. Critics also say the plan could hurt education.

Sounds like a lot of bickering going on in Austin.

In 2006, facing a court order to fix an unconstitutional school finance system, Texas legislators cut school property tax rates from $1.50 per $100 of property to $1. To replace those funds, they implemented a new business tax and increased cigarette taxes to help pay for public education.

While school tax rates fell, home appraisals increased, and some school districts asked voters to raise their rates so property owners across the state have seen little relief in their tax bills.

They are not telling us anything we didn’t already know.

“I’ve never been so frustrated with the government’s just complete appetite to raise fees and raise taxes at every single juncture,” said Michael Norwich, who owns 10 Jack-in-the-Box restaurants in El Paso. He used to pay $3,000 to $4,000 per year in business taxes. This year, his bill was $25,000.

This is what is sad, I love Jack-in-the-Box! But seriously,

The tax burden is crushing homeowners and businesses, Patrick said.

“The only way out is to move to broad-based consumption tax that is fair to everyone,” he said.

When they come back to Austin in January 2009, Patrick said lawmakers first should scrub the budget, eliminating wasteful, fraudulent or unnecessary spending.

Then, he said, lawmakers should nix most of the school property tax and fund schools using the savings and a sales tax that is assessed to more items and at a slightly higher rate than the current state and local tax of 8.25 cents.

The third step, Patrick said, would be designing a new, business tax that is more fair.

Here, here!! You go Dan!

But, if only we can get those elected that might actually do something…ummm….


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