Two Democratic Rep.’s File Income Tax Bills

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:18 am by wcnews

You can check them our here. Rep. Lon Burnum’s bill exempts all income under $100,000, then the tax rate is 2% up to $1 million and then it is 7%. Here’s what he says:

“My income tax bill provides substantial tax relief for 90% of Texans—not just for those with the highest incomes,” said Rep. Burnam. “The additional revenue, raised entirely from those Texans who can most easily afford it, would reduce property taxes and provide nearly $2 billion in new money for Texas schools. That would allow us to raise teacher salaries to the national average (a $6,000 raise) and still have several hundred million dollars left over.”

He introduced four other bills that will raise taxes on companies that pollute. Read the full press release here. He also introduced legislation during the last regular session to raise the minimum wage in Texas by $1 and is responsible for taking on the Ethics Commission and its lax ruling on the Ceverha complaint.

Rep. Eddie Rodriguez filed the other bill.

Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, once again has filed a bill that would impose a state income tax on Texans.

Texas is one of the few remaining states that doesn’t have an income tax. But many liberal think tanks believe it would solve the state’s school funding problems — and many other financial woes.

But a statewide income tax is banned by the constitution and would require a public vote to overrule.

Republican leaders have said it’s the only tax option that is off the table.

That last line is great isn’t it. Yeah, the Republican leaders are looking at every other tax except for a state income tax. Here’s a more from Rep. Rodriguez from Latinos For Texas:

In the opening hours of the latest special session of the Texas Legislature, State Representative Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) wasted no time in filing a bill (House Bill 20) to create a state Education Income Tax.

“This is the only proposal that resolves the State’s legal issues, provides new funding for education and promises a long standing resolution of our school finance crisis,” said Rodriguez.

Most of the opening day was devoted to a dialogue regarding the Governor’s Commission proposal. “Once the rubber hits the road, it becomes ever more obvious that this is a short term fix,” Rodriguez said. “Using the surplus might work for this year, but we have to make up that money in the very next year … and that usually means an increase in sales taxes.”

According to Rep. Rodriguez, “Appraisals increase, enrollments increase and the Governor’s plan actually allows future increases in the property tax rate. That’s not real property tax relief and it’s not

Both of these representatives, along with Sen. Shapleigh who’s been advocating for a state income tax also, deserve credit for bringing these bills to the floor. I believe and income tax when explained to the public correctly is a logical way to solve this problem. These are great progressive ideas, minimum wage, ethics in politics and fair taxes. I only wish the Democratic Party in Texas would embrace these too.

[UPDATE]: Response from Rep. Rodriguez on his state income tax plan:

Thanks for your kind note. I’m always surprised by the level of support that I find for my income tax plan, especially among learned and experienced public servants and business people. Even my colleagues offer private indication that they know this is the right thing to do.

Our state’s leadership spends significant political capital on suppressing this idea. They often begin a discussion of school finance by resolutely announcing their opposition to the idea and declaring their refusal to even consider the idea. . . as though that were somehow courageous.

Many Texans have been distracted in the last week by the announcement of an $8.2 Billion surplus. In fact, the long awaited plan offered by the Governor’s Commission relies heavily on spending surplus money in order to balance revenue with property tax relief.

We may have a revenue surplus, but no one is talking about the expense growth that we are dealing with at the same time. Our state has a budget of over One Hundred Billion dollars - this amount is barely significant in the long view of Texas needs. No new money has been appropriated to cover the educational costs of the thousands of school children from Louisiana that are still here in our state. We have other unmet needs that are a by-product of budget cuts from last session when we faced a $10 Billion deficit. The surplus is a mirage. We should not budget future needs on it.

Here’s the real dilemma. Texas has a lousy system of school finance that is so unfair that the courts are ready to shut it down. The solution that our leadership has offered is a short term band-aid. Their greatest hope is for a plan that least offends the powerful and shifts focus away from our pressing educational needs.

We can do better. That’s why I filed House Bill 20 which will completely abolish the school operations property tax and replace it with a state personal income tax. To read more about it, please go to www.texastaxrelief.com. There is “tax calculator” that will allow you to see how you would be affected personally by House Bill 20.

1 Comment »

  1. Eye on Williamson » What Do You Expect? They Don’t Believe In Public Education! said,

    April 19, 2006 at 2:09 pm

    […] Evidence of public support for public education can be seen in the Texas Parent PAC’s success this year in the primaries. They had a very strong record against Perry and Craddick endorsed candidates with their pro public education message. I hope the Parent PAC will endorse our two house candidates here in Williamson County. They are very pro public education as opposed to the two voucher supporters they are running against. The people of Texas when they crack open this issue don’t want vouchers, charter schools, or gimmicks (65% Rule). They want well funded, quality, public education. Yesterday I pointed to two Democratic plans for public education using a state income tax. A state income tax is always denounced as being unpopular but other than raising cigarette/sin taxes, maybe, do you think any tax hike is popular? The point being that people are willing to sacrifice if they think what they will get in return, in this case well educated children, is worthwhile. Isn’t leadership about doing what’s right, what needs to be done, and not what’s popular or what your donors thinks is right? […]

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