Once again, two of the most unpopular words in the Legislature this session are “tax increase,” and with good reason. The Republicans who dominate the House and Senate are philosophically opposed to them, and so are many of their constituents.
That’s fine. Tax increases should be rare, otherwise the tax burden or residents on businesses could creep too high. But lawmakers also need tax revenues to pay the ever-increasing cost of state government, so they are always on the lookout for more money.
One way to get it is to end some of the unjustified tax breaks that are keeping an estimated $43.9 billion out of legislators’ hands this year, according to a recent report from the state comptroller.
For example, state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, has pointed out that dozens of country clubs are taking advantage of something called the Greenbelt Act to avoid paying their fair share of property taxes. The 1981 law was designed to encourage property owners to set aside more land for parks or scenic uses, but the main beneficiaries have been golf courses.
Ellis and other lawmakers want to end that free ride, and it’s about time. Ellis and state Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, are even co-sponsoring a bill that would require periodic review of tax breaks to see if they are still justified. State Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, wants to go even further and place a 10-year limit on all future tax exemptions.
Changes like that are needed to make sure that lawmakers can stay away from tax increases yet still have enough money for our colleges, highways, prisons, etc.
Read more: http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/opinions/editorials/article/EDITORIAL-Legislature-should-end-unjustified-tax-4395856.php#ixzz2PPrOKgiF