Visions of New Taxes Dance in Legislators Heads - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/28/04

Visions of New Taxes Dance in Legislators Heads

In Austin, lawmakers continue looking for new ways to fund education and ideas about new and expanded sales taxes are being tossed around. House members rejected the following proposals but they are likely to be brought back up by the Senate:

  • First, an increase in the state sales tax to 6 1/2%.
  • Second, an increase in the motor vehicle tax to 7 1/2%.
  • Also, a one dollar "amusement ticket surcharge" for movies and recreational activities.

One further proposal would broaden sales taxes to beauty, legal, and veterinary services along with many others.

NewsChannel 11 questioned Representative Carl Isett of Lubbock about these proposals as a solution to school finance. He says, "The real question is how significant of a property tax relief we want to pass on, because we're talking about transferring property taxes to some other tax paying base."

Isett says the new and increased taxes have been proposed by the Senate in the past, and a survey of Texans found they'd rather see increased sales tax than increased property or personal income tax. However, concerns over economic impact led the House to wipe new and expanded taxes off their plan. Isett says, "We will continue to find propositions the majority of the members can support. Then we'll try to get something to the Senate next week."

If Senators add new taxes back in, they'll likely face some opposition from constituents. 'Hair by Diane' customer, Debbie Merritt says, "Off hand, it sounds bad. It's like when will they stop it? It keeps going. It's going to hit me."

At the same time, movie-goers seemed to be mixed. Boyd Clayton says, "What are you going to tax next? They just keep taxing and I think it's gone far enough." Kay Hays hold a different outlook, saying, "I don't have a problem with it. I think it would be a good solution to help schools and help children be educated."

Gene Messer Auto Group's President Greg Wessels agrees with Kay as long as taxes on new cars stay within reason. He says, "Of course, we'd rather not have any tax increases, but if you have to have them and it's for education, then we could probably live with that."

Representative Isett tells NewsChannel 11, some of the taxes considered may come back on the table in an effort to ease the burden on property owners and capital intensive industries. He expects legislators will be close to a school finance solution by the end of the special session.

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