Senators File A Bill To Update the Tax Code

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Dick Lavine, Senior Fiscal Analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities

Is your phone loaded up with apps that you once thought would be useful, but now just take up space on your screen?

Well, the State of Texas has a lot of tax breaks that once someone thought would be useful, but now just drain off tax dollars that could be used to support public education and other important public services.

Luckily, two state senators – John Carona, a Republican from Dallas, and Rodney Ellis, a Democrat from Houston – have filed a bill that would scrub the Tax Code of outmoded and wasteful tax breaks.  Right now, the Legislature never regularly looks back at tax exemptions and special treatments to see if they are accomplishing what they were promised to do, if there is a better way to get to the same goal, or if they should just be totally repealed.

The state has a “sunset process” to examine each state agency every 12 years to check on whether they are carrying out their intended functions, whether they could be improved, or whether they should be allowed to “sunset” and go out of existence.  The two Senators would apply a similar process to all the hidden tax breaks and special-interest incentives hidden across the state’s tax laws.

The Senators explain their proposal in the Dallas Morning News.

Their bill is SB 140.  You can read the bill and follow its progress at here.

At the Center for Public Policy Priorities, we believe in a Texas that offers everyone the chance to compete and succeed in life. We envision a Texas where everyone is healthy, well-educated, and financially secure. We want the best Texas - a proud state that sets the bar nationally by expanding opportunity for all. CPPP is an independent public policy organization that uses data and analysis to advocate for solutions that enable Texans of all backgrounds to reach their full potential. We dare Texas to be the best state for hard-working people and their families.

1 Comment

  • […] Here’s SB140, which is enabling legislation for SJR12. There was some talk about taking a closer look at tax expenditures in 2011, but it never went anywhere because spending cuts were the be-all and end-all of everyone’s existence. I’m hoping for a bit more sanity this session, but if this has to be done as a Constitutional amendment that will make it a much heavier lift. Still, this is clearly an idea whose time has come – as they note, several other states do this already – so I wish them the best of luck with it. Link via Better Texas. […]

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