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Though the state legislature must pass a balanced budget meaning spending can be no greater than the revenue anticipatedthe state constitution and enacting statutes only limit the spending growth in certain areas.
The net effect is that less than half of all appropriated funds are actually subject to a cap. In addition to its application, the existing spending cap is also flawed in its definition. Rather than capping only a portion of the budget, all state spending including those related to drawing down federal funds should be subject to the cap, and a super-majority vote of both legislative chambers should be required to exceed it.
Additionally, rather than basing the limit on the ill-defined and legislatively malleable phrase in place now, it should instead be based off the rate of population and consumer price inflation growth. This measure goes to what citizens can actually afford, not what lawmakers want to spend.
Unfortunately, this public vote is not automatic, meaning local officials with the exception of school boards can raise taxes as much as they please without obtaining any voter approval.
Lawmakers should lower the rollback rate, but local voters should be empowered by requiring that they approve tax increases over and above this rollback threshold.
The legislature limits annual property tax increases for local operating budgets because local governments experiencing growth should rely upon new taxpayers to pay for their own services. Existing residents should not be tax-gouged each year for the same services, without an option to vote on the tax increase.
The burden of property taxes is growing more rapidly, while incomes remain stagnant. Texas is consistently ranked near the top of the list of states throughout the country with the highest property taxes. Rather, they are subject to thousands upon thousands of local property taxes. Many taxpayers have more than a dozen local taxing entities overlapping them!
Holding each and every entity accountable is difficult even for the most active citizen. Making matters worse, increases in property tax bills from year to year are nearly impossible to forecast, making it difficult for homeowners to budget for, and even more difficult for first-time buyers to enter the market.
A more fair and equitable system of taxation is based upon consumption, rather than property or income. The legislature should also continue to pass pro-taxpayer reforms, including greater protections from local tax increases, appraisal reform, and more transparency.
This means that, locally, Texans across the state are paying taxes into pension systems that they have no control over. Even worse, even the most menial changes to these systems must be approved by the legislature before going into effect. This gives municipalities days every two years to coordinate all stakeholders to push for change.
Instead of working with their local pension board for temporary resolutions, they either have to go to the legislature for changes or redirect tax dollars from other local projects.
Local government entities should have direct governance, and responsibility, for the pensions of their municipal employees. The state should return control to local entities, as long as the local process proves to be accountable and transparent to taxpayers and municipal employees.
Only New York has more local debt, per person, than Texas. This has contributed to Texans paying the 6th highest property taxes in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation. While voters have approved much of this debt through local propositions in May and November elections, greater ballot transparency is needed.
Also, cities are abusing Certificates of Obligation — which do not require voter approval — and should only be used in emergencies such as natural disasters. The legislature has allowed too many entities to issue local debt. Water, hospital, and community college districts also owe billions in debt.
Uniform election dates, greater ballot transparency, local debt limits, and fewer overlapping local entities will help Texans seeking to address our local debt crisis. Contrary to an income tax or sales tax, businesses are subject to a gross margin tax even when they take a loss and the taxes continue to stack up through every step of production of a product.
The franchise tax is also structured in such a complex way that compliance costs are often almost as much as the tax itself, with businesses having to pay higher accounting fees and often being forced to keep two separate sets of books.
The Texas Legislature recently made a move to lower the burden on Texas businesses; however, to truly lift the burden off of businesses and taxpayers, further action must be taken to phase out or repeal the franchise tax immediately.
These efforts to stifle speech must be fought at every turn. The only way to do that is to impose additional disclosure requirements on elected officials and government employees, not on citizens who choose to be engaged in their communities.While energy experts often advise builders to exceed minimum code requirements for insulation, Icynene Incorporated, a manufacturer of open-cell spray polyurethane foam, is swimming against the tide.
Read counsel to author Michael Wolff and publisher Henry Holt & Co's response to President Trump’s attorney. Dear Twitpic Community - thank you for all the wonderful photos you have taken over the years.
We have now placed Twitpic in an archived state. Where Do Texans Pay the Highest Property Taxes? Texas homeowners pay the 4th highest tax bills nationwide but what about inside the Lone Star State?
each with a separate tax rate. And every homeowner has a different property value on which those rates are levied. Also, these figures are based only on median home values. Empower Texans. Thurgood Marshall School of Law Proposal To Reduce Recidivism Rates In Texas A Position Paper Part of a study by the EARL CARL INSTITUTE for Legal and Social Policy, Inc.
This was unexpected.. In a raucous school board meeting filled with shouting and accusations lobbed by trustees against each other, the Houston Independent School District’s board of trustees late Thursday replaced interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan with former HISD Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra.