Speaking at a small business in North Austin on Tax Day, Gov. Greg Abbott took time to brag on the many economic accomplishments of the Lone Star State. Abbott noted that while many Americans are dreading this day, it should be noted that in Texas lawmakers are focusing on reducing taxes.
“Our focus here in Texas is that we are dealing with a multi-billion dollar surplus as opposed to the $18 trillion deficit of the federal government,” said Abbott. “Because we have that surplus here in TX, we are in a position where we are going to be able to provide meaningful tax reductions for Texans.”
In his remarks, Abbott rearticulated his demand for significant reductions in the franchise tax.
“I think that Texas would be a job creation magnet if we could completely eliminate the franchise tax in Texas. My aspiration is to work toward a day where we can abolish the tax in Texas,” said Abbott.
On the franchise tax there seems to be much agreement between both chambers towards reducing it, but differ in the mechanics of how to do so.
The Texas Senate opted for a 15% cut in the rate of the tax and an increase of the income threshold before a business is subject to the tax—a measure designed to benefit small businesses. Meanwhile, the House is currently considering a 25% cut across the board.
However, despite being asked multiple times, Abbott declined to venture into the disagreement over which other taxes to cut as well—a growing feud between the two chambers of the Texas Legislature.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and the Texas Senate have argued for, and passed, substantial property tax cuts. However, that measure has failed to gain significant traction in the House. Instead, led by Ways and Means Chair State Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton), the lower chamber has been eyeing a reduction in the state sales tax. Both Patrick and Bonnen have been trading public blows on the matter.
In a similar vein to our previous statement on the tax relief proposals, Abbott noted that he was encouraged that the argument was not over whether to raise taxes, but which taxes to cut.
“The good news about Texas, which is different from other states, is that now we are having a robust discussion about other ways to reduce taxes,” said Abbott.
The move did, however, signal a retreat from his previous stance articulated in his State of the State, where he said he would “insist on property tax reduction.” Though the veto threat seems to have been revoked, Abbott still stated his preference on the matter—property tax cuts.
“I made clear in my state of the state address and I’ll tell you my personal belief,” said Abbott. “Property tax relief is important to Texans and property taxes are too high in Texas and they are definitely on the table as an option for reducing taxes in this state.”