Sunday, July 17, 2005

Everything In My Power or Whatever Happened to Property Tax Relief?

Before I post the latest analysis on the special session I want to note a few things. The rush the Conferees are in that are working on a deal to "save" this special session - or is it Rick Perry's hide they are trying to save? - is not rushing to come up with a deal that is equitable, or a deal that is the best for the school children of Texas or even about property tax relief. It's now just about getting something, no matter how bad it is, out soon enough so that it can't be killed by a filibuster. Sen. Ogden has dropped all his fancy rhetoric about doing everything in his power to keep the sales tax increase to a half a penny. We now know that he was either just pulling everyone's leg or he never had any power to begin with.

Start reading this from Rep. Hocbergs's newsletter, What happened to the promised property tax relief? That's a good question representative. Here is jus t a little of what he had to say:
Almost to the end of the first special legislative session of 2005 and the leadership's property tax relief has been whittled down to very little compared to the original promises.

Truth is, it never was a "tax relief" plan as much as it was a tax shift. Property taxes were to have been replaced by increases in sales tax and tobacco taxes, plus a newly designed business tax to replace the current franchise tax that more than 90% of Texas businesses have learned to avoid. (Those avoiding the Texas franchise tax include Dell, SBC and just about any other major company operating in Texas.)

While consumers are still targeted to pay for much of the remaining shift through higher sales and tobacco taxes, the long-awaited reform of the franchise tax has fizzled, leaving the leadership without the revenue needed to make a serious dent on property tax rates.

Soechting is pissed at the Senator's that voted for HB 3 last week. Can you blame him? Here is the story on that, Demos may face state party backlash:
Soechting said Democrats should not trade votes.

"Dammit, it's just time for them to do the right thing without regard whether some damn lobbyist is going to give them another big check down the road, or whether some guy like David Dewhurst is going to promise them that next time he'll really do what he didn't do," Soechting said.
Here's Kuffner to wrap it up, Coming down to the wire on school finance I especially like this part:
Yeah, right. The day Rick Perry scolds a legislator for bowing to a corporate master is the day NASA announces it's replaced the space shuttle with a lawn chair and balloons.
Oh yeah, the Senate is already out until Monday so I guess that makes if filibusterable, if that's even a word?


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