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House, Senate produce disparate versions of tax relief

By Ed Sterling

TEXAS PRESS ASSOCIATION

AUSTIN — Legislation approved by the House and Senate last week reveal widely differing views on how to bring about tax relief to Texans in fiscal years 2016 and 2017.

Speaker Joe Straus lauded the preliminary approval of House Bill 31, legislation to reduce the state sales tax from 6.25 percent to 5.95 percent, resulting in a $2.66 billion revenue decrease, and House Bill 32, legislation cutting the franchise tax paid by many businesses by 25 percent and resulting in a statewide revenue decrease of $2.56 billion. Both bills were written by House Ways and Means Chair Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, along with several members credited as coauthors.

The bills, in combination, are intended to provide a form of tax relief that would be insulated from the powers of local taxing entities and appraisal districts. Straus said the House “looks forward to a productive conversation with the Senate about how best to deliver results on this issue and the many others that matter to our economy and to Texas families.” 

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, on the other hand, praised the Senate’s preliminary approval of Senate Bill 1760 authored by Freshman Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe. “Sen. Creighton’s bill gives homeowners the ability to hold local government accountable for the demands they place on taxpayers,” Patrick said, and called the measure “another step in an overall plan to reduce property taxes for homeowners and businesses.”

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