Texas leaders backing tax-swap proposal for property tax relief

Texas leaders backing tax-swap proposal for property tax relief by raising sales tax

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

On the house floor for debate, Gov. Abbott, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said increasing sales taxes by one cent for property tax relief is a no-brainer trade.

They said it could generate an extra $5 billion. 

Jeff Baum, the chief financial officer for Lubbock ISD, said this could mean more funds for education.

"This gives us the opportunity to give our homeowners some tax relief while also providing some dollars into the educational system. I think it's a win for everybody involved," Baum said.

However, Baum said low-income families will take the brunt of this tax swap proposal.

"One of the cons to raising the sales tax is that lower-income people, or those that may be impoverished, end up paying a greater percentage of their income towards sales tax, making it regressive in nature," Baum said.

Since Texas is one of seven states that does not have an income tax, Robert Ricketts, with the Rawls Business College at Texas Tech, said this will just add fuel to the fire.

"We already have a pretty regressive tax state because we don't have an income tax. We rely very heavily on the sales tax, so this will just make that problem worse," Ricketts said.

In essence, Ricketts said he believes this is a tax break for the wealthy, while at the same time, creating a bigger burden for the poorest in the state.

Since changing the sales tax would require a constitutional amendment, Texas voters would get the final say in it.

If approved in the legislature, the proposal would go on voters' November ballots. 

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