Why Raising the Sales Tax Won’t Lower Your Property Taxes

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Lisa Simpson and our wonks take on this tax scheme at the TX Capitol

Lawmakers at the Capitol have been pushing an extremely dangerous idea for some time now that would replace property taxes with higher sales taxes in our state. This would give Texas the highest sales tax rate in the country, hurt the economy and make public services more vulnerable to economic fluctuations. It would shift the responsibility of funding these services onto those Texans who are least able to afford it.

Property taxes in Texas provide major support for our schools, cities, counties, community colleges and other local public services. Those services were made possible by investments made by previous generations, and the taxes you pay now are an investment for our children and grandchildren to be able to use the same infrastructure that we do today.

Replacing school property taxes used for annual expenses would require an increase to almost 14% in sales taxes, increasing the price of products for consumers and discouraging sales. These ill-conceived proposals from lawmakers would put businesses at an extreme disadvantage.

The solution is very simple: If lawmakers were truly concerned about lowering property taxes, they would increase state aid to our public schools, as well as make sure that all property owners – especially commercial and industrial property – are paying their fair share in taxes and eliminate wasteful or outdated tax exemptions and special giveaways.

Dive deeper by reading our brief here.

Dick Lavine focuses on building state and local revenue systems that meet Texans' needs. Before coming to the Center in 1994, he was a Senior Researcher at the House Research Organization of the Texas House of Representatives for ten years. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst and served for many years as a member and chairman of the Board of Directors of the Travis Central Appraisal District. He is also a member of the Executive Board of AFSCME Texas Retirees, the statewide union local of retired public employees. The Equity Center named him the 2011 Champion for Equity for his work to reform our tax system to ensure it can adequately support public education and other public services. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, magna cum laude, from Harvard College in 1969, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence, cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania in 1975.

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