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The grumbling you hear coming from the Capitol? That’s the sound of the establishment acknowledging that taxpayers are winning! And members of the Texas House are mad – mad that their leadership has been caught slow-boating reform measures.

Earlier this week we let Texans know about the $4.6 billion in tax relief measures the Senate passed on March 25th. To this day, House Speaker Joe Straus has refused to refer those bills to a House committee. Instead, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee is offering a $4.9 billion package that just passed out of his committee today (April 16).

(You can see the text of the letters, and script for the phone calls, at the end of this post.)

As we’ve said repeatedly, having both chambers fight over which taxes to cut – and try to gain bragging rights over who can make the “bigger” cut – is a welcome change.

Both plans end up cutting the business tax, though in different ways, with the Senate plan focusing on small businesses and the House plan favoring big businesses. The bigger difference? The House is cutting sales taxes while the Senate is cutting property taxes.

Some 54 percent of Texans are dissatisfied with their property tax burden – and the GOP platform calls for property taxes to be abolished. You might recall that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made property tax reform and relief the hallmark of his successful campaign in 2014.

Action toward reducing the burden of property taxes is non-existent from the House leadership.

[side_text]It’s time for Straus to stop obstructing the conservative agenda of Texas taxpayers. The Capitol switchboard is 512-463-4630.[/side_text]With the Senate having already passed out a tax relief package, one is left to wonder why the Republican-controlled House didn’t take up that measure – even as a base from which to swap out property tax relief for sales tax relief. It would have sped up the process to ensure the legislative clock doesn’t run out on tax relief.

In addition to the tax relief package, there are literally hundreds of pieces of legislation that have passed the Texas Senate which Speaker Straus has refused to “refer” to a committee for a hearing and public debate.

For example, 94 percent of Republican primary voters supported a ballot question limiting government growth to population and inflation. The Senate has passed that measure. In the House, it’s sitting idle on the Speaker’s desk.

Lawmakers aren’t happy about being called out for the Straus leadership obstructing a multitude of Senate reforms. They are grumbling – some even lying – about what we’ve said.

That’s to be expected. They are getting calls from constituents, and far too many in public office really hate getting questions from voters.

Rather than address the slow-boating of conservative reforms, some House members are meeting on how to put a spin on obstructionism.

Texas Republicans want tax relief and strict spending restraint written into law. The Texas Senate has done both, and the House is poised to do one.

As for tax debate, maybe some compromise is in order. I think Texas’ taxpayers could live with this: implement Senate’s full business and property relief plan as well as the House’s proposed business tax and the sales tax cuts.

The more politicians feel the heat, the more likely they are to see the light. Keep up the pressure!


PHONE SCRIPT:

This is [[xxx]] with Empower Texans with an important call to action for taxpayers. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and the conservative Senate have so far passed a bold agenda, including spending limits, tax relief and gun rights. But liberal Republican House Speaker Joe Straus refuses to do his constitutional duty and refer these hundreds of bills to House committees. Press 1 to be connected with your state representative – who voted to put Straus in office. It’s time for Straus to stop obstructing the conservative agenda of Texas taxpayers. So press 1 to tell [[NAME]] to demand that Joe Straus immediately refer the hundreds of bills passed by the Senate. For more information, visit EmpowerTexans.com or call (512) 730-0125.


LETTER:

While the Texas House leadership has pushed through a state budget spending nearly $210 billion, there have not yet been any votes on real tax relief for Texans.

On the other side of the Capitol, more than two-thirds of the Texas Senate voted for the historic $4.6 billion tax cut agendas of Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Those tax relief measures are now sitting idle in the Texas House.

Texans have expressed great frustration with property taxes, but the Texas House leadership is focusing on sales taxes. They announced last week that instead of addressing property taxes, they would cut the state sales tax from 6.25% to 5.95%.

By voting to re-elect House Speaker Joe Straus at the start of the session, State Rep. [[NAME]] put in charge a legislative leadership team that has described the significant tax relief measures supported by Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick as “gimmicks.”

When asked last week by the media about tax relief, Abbott’s office reiterated his position that he will “insist” on property tax relief for Texans.

However, the House leadership put in place by [[NAME]] is refusing to prioritize the tax relief measures championed by Abbott and Patrick.

Some 54 percent of Texans polled by the University of Texas/Texas Tribune said they were frustrated by the heavy burden of property taxes. Yet [[NAME]] and the Texas House have yet to take a floor vote on any legislation reining in the heavy taxes that have turned every property owner into a renter from government.

To stay updated about the progress of the legislative session and the news affecting your family, business, and pocketbook, be sure to visit our website, EmpowerTexans.com.

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