Sales Tax Holidays Aren’t Good for Texas

Brakeyshia Samms

Last week I presented invited testimony to the Senate Finance Committee about sales tax holidays. Sales tax holidays sound good to consumers, especially in the late summer right before school starts. With a list of school-year needs a mile long, from school supplies to new clothes, hard-working Texas families look for every opportunity to save […]

Have Property Taxes Gone Up, Really?

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

Property taxes are the major source of support for local public services – schools, emergency services, roads, parks and libraries. They are also among the most unpopular of all state and local taxes. Many taxpayers complain that their property tax bill can go up, even if their ability to pay that bill does not. So […]

Texas Undocumented Immigrants Pay At Least $1.5 Billion in Taxes

Undocumented immigrants in Texas pay at least $1.5 billion in property, sales, and excise taxes annually, according to the new Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) report. According to the report, “these tax contributions would increase significantly if all undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States were granted a pathway to citizenship as part […]

The Case for a Flat-Dollar Exemption

Dick Lavine

In the 2015 session, legislators considered a promising proposed constitutional amendment to give cities, counties, and other local taxing units the option of lowering property taxes through a flat-dollar homestead exemption. The measure passed the Senate and the House Ways & Means Committee with significant support, but failed to come up for a full House […]

Flat-Dollar Homestead Exemption Benefits Homeowners and Municipalities

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

In Texas, school districts grant residential homeowners a flat-dollar-amount homestead exemption of $15,000, but local governments are currently prohibited from doing the same. While they can offer percentage exemptions, the ability to offer flat-dollar-amount homestead exemptions would benefit both homeowners and local taxing entities. At present, more than 800 Texas cities, and more than half […]

FAQ: Texas Taxes and Tax Cut Proposals

Brakeyshia Samms, State Policy Fellow

The House and Senate have different tax cut proposals, generating many questions about what these tax cuts could mean for the future of Texas. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions. What are the tax cut proposals? The Senate proposes a $4.5 billion tax-cut package, made up of: SB 1, which would cut property […]

Undocumented Immigrants Paid $1.5 Billion+ in Texas Taxes

Brakeyshia Samms, State Policy Fellow

A just-released Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy report estimates that undocumented immigrants in Texas collectively paid $1.5 billion in property, sales, and excise taxes in 2012. (For other states that have a personal income tax, ITEP estimates that amount as well.) Today’s ITEP report points out that, “[l]ike other people living and working in […]

Squabbling Over the Best Way to Shortchange Our Kids

Tax cut fever continues to spread through the Capitol, and we keep asking the same question: is it appropriate or fiscally responsible to place tax cuts at the top of the agenda? State leadership seems to be prioritizing tax cuts above all else, when programs and services our businesses and families depend on are left […]

Budget Season in Texas Means Sleepless Nights

What keeps you up at night? Is it the risks of not having health insurance? The rising cost of college? Overcrowded classrooms at your child’s school? Well, it’s budget season at the Texas Capitol, and how legislators decide to invest state money could profoundly affect these and other aspects of our lives. What have we […]

Who Pays Taxes in Texas?

Brakeyshia Samms, State Policy Fellow

Last week’s release of the 2015 Tax Exemption and Tax Incidence report by the Comptroller’s office is great reminder that Texas tax system is in dire need of a little spring-cleaning. The report reveals the unfairness of our tax system, since low-and moderate-income Texas households bear a disproportionate share of state and local taxes. The unfairness […]