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Government/Politics

House Republicans Announce $4.7 Billion Tax Relief Plan

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Ryan E. Poppe

The Republican majority in the Texas House on Wednesday announced details of a plan to provide $4.7 billion in tax relief this session. Budget writers say their plan, unlike the Senate’s, will benefit every Texas family without threatening the state-spending cap.

The almost $5 billion tax cut plan authored by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dennis Bonnen, would cut the state’s sale tax from 6.25% to 5.95%, which the Texas Comptroller’s Office said, would provide the average Texas family an additional $172 a year. “Today Texas has the 12th highest sales tax rate in America. When House Bill 31 passes that rate will drop to the 26th highest in America,” Bonnen stressed.

The plan is different from a proposal by Gov. Greg Abbott. Abbot’s plan calls for reducing property tax rates this session. The senate has already approved and sent the House a $4.4 billion tax relief plan that includes property tax reductions.

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Credit Ryan E. Poppe
San Antonio Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer and his fellow Democratic leaders in the House caution members about efforts to cut taxes in 2015

  But some in the House believe the Legislature should also be considering other needs before cutting taxes. San Antonio Democratic Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer also sits on the House’s Ways and Means committee. He said he was open to cutting the state’s sales tax because it would benefit everyone, but not at the expense of future infrastructure needs. “You know this is again a decision that will take $5 billion out of our budget two years from now. And when you look at our existing priorities, the question becomes, is $5 billion better spent making critical investments or better spent on tax cuts?” asked Martinez Fischer.

Bonnen pledged that he would have bipartisan support for the bill before it hit the House floor for a vote.