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By super-majority votes, the Texas Senate on Wednesday approved $4.6 billion in tax relief in a series of measures aimed at helping small businesses and homeowners.

“Rather than spend excess revenue, the Senate has voted to return $4.6 billion to Texas homeowners and businesses over the next two years,” said Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick after the measures passed.

The package of legislation included:

  • Senate Bill 7, also by Nelson, cut the state’s business tax by an across-the-board 15%;
  • Senate Bill 8 by State Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) exempts more than half of Texas businesses from paying the franchise tax

SB 1 and SJR 1 were considered first and enjoyed widespread and bipartisan support. As passed, the legislation will save the median Texas homeowner more than $200 a year by altering the way the homestead exemption is calculated.

SB 1 and SJR 1 were co-sponsored by all but two Republicans, State Sens. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler) and Kel Seliger (R-Midland). In the end, Eltife was the lone Republican to oppose both SB 1 and SJR 1.

On the business tax relief package, State Sen. Don Huffines (R-Dallas) offered an amendment to phase out the franchise tax in its entirety by continuously lowering the rates until they reach zero by the year 2020.

Frightened by the potential loss of revenue, Huffines’ amendment was effectively gutted by State Sen. Troy Fraser (R–Horseshoe Bay) and replaced with language requiring the Comptroller to simply study what might happen should the state eliminate the franchise tax in its entirety.

But we do know what would happen if the franchise tax was eliminated.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation has reported that an immediate repeal would result in the greatest economic gain, freeing nearly $5 billion in the economy that would be better spent by small businesses rather than complying with the tax.

Also passed by the Texas Senate was SB 8 by Schwertner, which would exempt a large portion of Texas businesses from the franchise tax by exempting small companies that report less than $4 million in gross revenue per year.

 


RECORD VOTES:

Senate Bill 1, Passage:
Favor
– Bettencourt (R), Birdwell (R), Burton (R), Campbell (R), Creighton (R), Estes (R), Fraser (R), Garcia (D), Hall (R), Hancock (R), Hinojosa (D), Huffines (R), Huffman (R), Kolkhorst (R), Lucio (D), Menendez (D), Nelson (R), Nichols (R), Perry (R), Schwertner (R), Seliger (R), L. Taylor (R), V. Taylor (R), Uresti (D), Watson (D), West (D).

Oppose – Ellis (D), Eltife (R), Rodriguez (D), Whitmire (D), Zaffirini (D)


Senate Joint Resolution 1, Passage:
Favor
– Bettencourt (R), Birdwell (R), Burton (R), Campbell (R), Creighton (R), Estes (R), Fraser (R), Hall (R), Hancock (R), Hinojosa (D), Huffines (R), Huffman (R), Kolkhorst (R), Lucio (D), Menendez (D), Nelson (R), Nichols (R), Perry (R), Schwertner (R), Seliger (R), L. Taylor (R), V. Taylor (R), Uresti (D)

Oppose – Ellis (D), Eltife (R), Garcia (D), Rodriguez (D), Watson (D), West (D), Whitmire (D), Zaffirini (D)

SB 7: Motion to Table Fraser Amendment Gutting The Huffines Amendment on SB 7
Favor
(support phasing out the franchise tax) – Burton (R), Ellis (D), Garcia (D), Hall (R), Huffines (R), Rodriguez (D), V. Taylor (R).

Oppose (against phasing out the franchise tax) – Bettencourt (R), Birdwell (R), Campbell (R), Creighton (R), Eltife (R), Estes (R), Fraser (R), Hancock (R), Hinojosa (D), Huffman (R), Kolkhorst (R), Lucio (D), Menendez (D), Nelson (R), Nichols (R), Perry (R), Schwertner (R), Seliger (R), L. Taylor (R), Uresti (D), Watson (D), West (D), Whitmire (D), Zaffirini (D)


Senate Bill 7, Passage:
Favor
– Bettencourt (R), Birdwell (R), Burton (R), Campbell (R), Creighton (R), Eltife (R), Estes (R), Fraser (R), Hall (R), Hancock (R), Hinojosa (D), Huffines (R), Huffman (R), Kolkhorst (D), Lucio (D), Nelson (R), Nichols (R), Perry (R), Schwertner (R), Seliger (R), L. Taylor (R), V. Taylor (R), Uresti (D), West (D)

Oppose – Ellis (D), Garcia (D), Menendez (D), Rodriguez (D), Watson (D), Whitmire (D), Zaffirini (D)

 

Senate Bill 8:
Favor
– Bettencourt (R), Birdwell (R), Burton (R), Campbell (R), Creighton (R), Eltife (R), Estes (R), Fraser (R), Hall (R), Hancock (R), Hinojosa (D), Huffines (R), Huffman (R), Kolkhorst (D), Lucio (D), Nelson (R), Nichols (R), Perry (R), Schwertner (R), Seliger (R), L. Taylor (R), V. Taylor (R), Uresti (D), West (D)

Oppose – Ellis (D), Garcia (D), Menendez (D), Rodriguez (D), Watson (D), Whitmire (D), Zaffirini (D)

 

 

 

 

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