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House Follows Governor’s Marching Orders To Pass Small Business Tax Cuts

Ryan Poppe | Texas Public Radio
TPR News

The House passed House Bill 500, which would extend tax incentives to small businesses by using revenue usually reserved to fund schools.

Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, R-Kerrville, who authored the bill, said the state will replace the money for public education in the senate’s version of the budget bill.

At the request of Perry, the bill extends $400 million in tax incentives to small businesses by taking that amount from the state’s franchise tax.

Hilderbran said his bill goes a long way to help Texas "mom and pop" businesses across the state.

"I have operated being responsible, trying to be responsible as a legislator and as a chairman and also to respond to the needs of Texas taxpayers and growing our economy. I have operated with certain numbers, but it isn’t a number that has been assigned to me," Hilderbran said.

Some of those across the aisle did not see eye to eye with Hilderbran. Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, said the legislature this year has already given out $350 million in tax cuts and incentives to various companies.

"I have tried to keep all of this down and then Representative [Paul] Workman [R-Austin] gave me an abacus and I want you to know that wasn’t good enough. So Representative Charlie Geren [R-River Oaks] went back and he brought me an old-fashioned calculator and I intend to print out a tab," Turner said.

Speaking from the podium, Turner used an abacus to add up what the state is giving away in tax cuts versus the amount being taken from the same franchise tax that is used to fund Texas public schools.

The small business incentive bill passed on a vote of 112 to 27.

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.