Rep. Elliott Naishtat Exposes Republican Indifference For Seniors And The Disabled

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 10:26 am by wcnews

Elliott Naishtat in today’s AAS, Property tax fix fails the most vulnerable, shows how the elderly and the disabled in Texas were held hostage by the Republicans in Texas and not allowed to share in the property tax cuts:

Despite repeated pleas from the Texas Silver-Haired Legislature, Texas Senior Advocacy Coalition and AARP, as well as from a bipartisan group of legislators, including Berman and me, the proposed constitutional amendment was never considered for a vote in the Senate Finance Committee, effectively killing the measures intended to provide proportionate tax relief and a permanent tax freeze for seniors and people with disabilities.

At any point during the waning days of the special session, the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker could have impressed on the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee the importance of voting out the requisite constitutional amendment. But they chose to not do so. The votes were there; the necessity was apparent. In the end, 1,181,825 elderly and 146,945 disabled Texans were left out.

For those of you interested in understanding why the Republican leadership pushed so hard for Berman’s float-up language and, when my proportionate tax relief and freeze language was substituted, proceeded to kill the proposed constitutional amendment, consider the following. Since House Bill 1 requires any increase in school tax rates above 4 cents to go before the voters, the Berman float-up language would have ensured there was a built-in constituency to vote against school districts raising their rates, and would have further limited the ability of school districts to exercise local control and raise needed revenues. Anti-tax guru Grover Norquist loved Berman’s float-up language. So did our Republican leadership. That’s why the proposed constitutional amendment was killed. That’s why more than 1.3 million seniors and people with disabilities in Texas will receive little or no property tax relief.

They would only allow the tax cut for seniors and the disabled if it would help insure the Republican defunding of public schools in Texas. That’s just wrong.

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference. - Elie Wiesel

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