May 10, 2019/Media, Press

Roundup: The Verdict Is In, Republicans Lose Big on their Proposal to Increase the Sales Tax

Austin, TX — Republicans lost big on their proposal to raise the sales tax on hardworking families and businesses. Journalists and pundits agree: Republicans lost big on this tax battle and “Democrats see an opening to seize control of the Texas House in 2020.” [Houston Chronicle, May 10, 2019]

Highlights:

Houston Chronicle: “In flexing their political muscle, Democrats have blocked Gov. Greg Abbott’s embattled secretary of state nominee and helped stop a sales tax hike that GOP leaders had championed in order to cut property taxes.”

Texas Monthly: “Raising taxes on the majority to buy down taxes on the wealthiest is a hard case to make. Every lawmaker who voted for the swap would face the prospect of ads about how he or she had raised taxes on diapers and school supplies to help out people with mansions and weekend ranches. The dent in property taxes would be negligible for most, whereas the sales tax increase would be high-profile and have an everyday effect on almost every Texan.”

Texas Tribune: “Democrats opposed the sales tax as a regressive levy that would hurt their constituents and pointed out that the renters who dominate many of their districts wouldn’t see any savings from a property tax cut. Reinforcement for that position arrived from the Legislative Budget Board, which prepared a required ‘tax/fee equity note’ that showed who would benefit from a swap. Surprise! It would benefit Texans with incomes over $99,619; everyone below that would pay more taxes.”

Austin American-Statesman: “Virtually the entire 67-member House Democratic caucus appeared opposed, arguing, with reams of data, that the sales tax increase would penalize poor Texans and benefit wealthy Texans.”

“The state-run Legislative Budget Board estimated that households that make less than $99,619 would pay a total of $171 million more in taxes under the tax swap. Households that make more than that would pay a total of $424 million less in taxes, according to the analysis.”

Dallas News: “Governor Abbott and Republican lawmakers are kidding themselves if they think they are doing anything other than ‘Californizing’ Texas,” Empower Texans leader Michael Quinn Sullivan said last week in an email blast criticizing the proposed tax swap.”

Dallas News: “Sadly, as politicians are wont to do, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen have gotten out of line with most Texas voters.”

“We struggle to understand how they could call it tax relief when they wanted to put money back in our pockets only to grab a handful from our wallets.”

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