Tax shift set aside until 2021 … let’s look for real reduction

It won’t be any better in 2021 than it is this year.

Texas legislators have decided apparently to delay any action on a bill that would have increased the state sales tax by a penny while rolling back local property taxes.

House Joint Resolution 3 and House Bill 4621 had won the endorsement of House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Most legislators seemed to like, but opposition arose from interesting and disparate ends of the political spectrum: progressives and archconservatives disliked the measure for wildly different reasons.

I agree with those at both ends.

Progressives believe the sales tax is regressive and punishes poor Texans because they pay the same tax as rich Texans on goods they purchase. Good point, yes? Sure it is!

Conservatives on the right and far right believe the Legislature’s Republican caucus should remain faithful to its members’ pledge to avoid raising new taxes. Another good point? Yep, it is!

Lt. Gov. Patrick had made property tax reduction a key legislative agenda item. I’m OK with that. Why, though, pay for that reduction with a boost in the state sales tax? I’m not so OK with that notion.

If we’re going to reduce property tax, I would be far more in favor of an actual reduction in Texans’ total tax burden.

Let’s hope legislators take some time between the end of this session and the start of the next one to find a way to get there.

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