What if you propose a tax cut but the beneficiaries of it say they’d rather the money went to something else?
Major business groups pushed back Friday against a multibillion-dollar package of tax cuts advancing in the Texas Senate, calling it inequitable and saying state needs should be funded before lawmakers consider tax relief.
The criticism highlights how, despite support for tax cuts among Republican legislative leaders, details are far from settled and are prompting dissension among lawmakers and businesses.
It also echoes concerns from some leading lawmakers that the emphasis on tax cuts could imperil efforts to address such issues, as education, transportation, state debt and pension programs.
“If, after paying our state bills, there is money left over for tax relief, that relief should be fair to those who pay the most taxes in the first place – both individuals and businesses,” said the letter signed by seven big-business groups.
“That portion of tax relief to business should encourage growth and investment, enhancing our ability to expand our production and payrolls. Unfortunately, we believe the package of bills up for consideration in the Texas Senate falls short of these principles and creates new inequities in the tax system,” they wrote.
The letter to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and senators is signed by representatives of the Texas Association of Business, Texas Association of Manufacturers, Texas Taxpayers and Research Association, Association of Electric Companies of Texas, Texas Chemical Council, Texas Oil and Gas Association, and Texas Association of Realtors. It mirrors concerns expressed previously.
Senate leaders, including Patrick, pushed right back at the criticism.
“While traveling the state for the last 18 months, taxpayers made it clear they expect tax relief this session,” Patrick said. “Gov. Abbott and I have said that lasting franchise and property tax relief are a critical component of a successful session.”
Senate Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson, a Flower Mound Republican who is a lead sponsor of the package, defended its aims but did not dismiss the concerns.
“We are striking a good balance between tax reductions for businesses and homeowners, and we will continue to work deliberatively through the process on that issue. As a businessperson myself, I am grateful for the input from these important stakeholders and look forward to working with them moving forward,” Nelson said.
In other words, Patrick told them they’ll take what they’re given and they’ll like it and the hell with whatever the state needs. No wonder all these interests united to oppose his election last…oh, wait. Never mind. Maybe after Patrick and his crew finish wrecking the state’s finances these guys will get a clue. Hope it’s not too late by then.