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May 10, 2019      5:54 PM

Greenfield: FY19 Revenue may include a nice surprise

Additional dollars on the table as the Legislature moves into the homestretch?

Four months ago, Comptroller Glen Hegar released the Biennial Revenue Estimate (BRE), which predicts total revenue available for general-purpose Legislative spending for the 2020-21 biennium. Comptroller Hegar may now have a nice gift for the Legislature as it wraps up its spending plans.

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By Dr. Stuart Greenfield

April 29, 2019      4:56 PM

Moseley: Texas Wins with Chapter 312 and 313

TAB president argues "Many Texans have come to take our economic security and the 'Texas Miracle' for granted. However, we must not forget the steps that were made to get where we are today..."

In the 1990s, Texas was not the state of economic opportunity that it is today.

It was hard for Texas with such high property taxes to attract highly capitalized manufacturing companies and global corporations.

So, when a North Texas city was approached by a global technology company looking to bring over 6,000 jobs to Texas, local governments were elated. However, after two sessions and two failed attempts to get the Texas legislature to approve tax incentives for their relocation the technology company found another state that did offer incentives and moved their campus and jobs away from Texas after buying 500 acres and spending 60 million dollars on their site.

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By Jeff Moseley

April 23, 2019      1:10 PM

McCaig: Local Governments Must Be More Transparent When Hiring Outside Lawyers

Attorney Mark McCaig argues Rep. Greg Bonnen’s HB2826 would provide much needed reforms

Over the past several years, there has been a dramatic increase in litigation brought by local governments across Texas utilizing outside lawyers hired on a contingent-fee basis. Much of this litigation has been driven by law firms that have engaged in aggressive marketing efforts, enticing local officials with the prospect of a financial windfall at no risk to them.

The nature of these lawsuits varies widely, but includes numerous lawsuits against pharmaceutical manufacturers, automobile manufacturers, construction companies, and other businesses.

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By Mark McCaig

April 22, 2019      12:52 PM

Greenfield: The property tax swap impact on business

Several sectors including Construction, Wholesale and Retail Trade, and Other Services will find their total sales and property taxes increasing

A former colleague suggested that I might also look at how the sales tax – property tax swap would affect the distribution of taxes among business sectors.  As noted in my previous analysis, eighty percent of Texas households would find the increase in sales tax they paid would exceed the reduced property taxes.  Only those with incomes above $149,451 would benefit from this swap.

Using the Comptroller’s Initial Distribution of a Tax estimates result in the tax swap providing business with a $619.3 million reduction in taxes paid by businesses. The reason for this change is that the Comptroller has estimated that businesses pay 42.4 percent of the sales tax while paying 52.9 percent of school property taxes.  The 10.5 percent point difference applied to the $5.9 billion that the tax swap involves would generate a $619.3 million reduction in the initial distribution of taxes paid by business. As the tax swap is revenue neutral individuals will pay $619.3 million more in taxes.

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By Dr. Stuart Greenfield

April 12, 2019      11:52 AM

Greenfield: Breaking down the numbers on the property tax sales tax swap

Economist Dr. Stuart Greenfield notes that “this policy would increase taxes for 80 percent of Texas households, reducing taxes only for those with income above $146,000”

For the last decade, conservative groups have actively campaigned to replace the state’s property tax with an increased sales tax. 

On April 10, the state’s troika announced that legislation would be introduced to ask voters to approve increasing the state’s sales tax by one percentage point to 7.25 percent.

The increase in sales tax receipts would be used to reduce local school district property taxes by a comparable amount.

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By Dr. Stuart Greenfield