By Kolten Morris and The Honorable Talmadge Heflin
The Texas model’s low tax, pro-growth policy approach has been the foundation for the state’s explosive economic growth during the last five-plus years. However, the model is not perfect and should be improved, something Comptroller Glenn Hegar and several legislators are aggressively pursuing.
Comptroller Hegar identified nine antiquated state taxes that should be repealed this session reducing the tax burden without substantially affecting state revenue. But the roughly $16.6 million in total tax savings, according to the 2016-17 Biennial Revenue Estimate, benefits Texans by leaving more money in their pockets.
These nine taxes (and amounts in 2014-15 budget period) and associated bills that would repeal them are:
- Inheritance Tax ($0): SB 752, Senator Paul Bettencourt
- Controlled Substance Tax Certificates ($0): HB 1905, Representative Drew Springer
- Airline/Passenger Train Beverage Tax ($633,000): HB 1905, Representative Drew Springer
- Liquefied Gas Tax ($2,003,000): SB 759, Senator Lois Kolkhorst
- Combative Sports Admissions Tax ($1,729,000): SB 752, Senator Paul Bettencourt
- Bingo Rental Tax ($2,457,000): SB 759, Senator Lois Kolkhorst
- Fireworks Tax ($20,000): SB 761, Senator Brandon Creighton
- Oil Regulation Tax ($3,140,000): SB 757, Senator Charles Perry; HB 1906, Representative Drew Springer
- Sulphur Tax ($6,604,000): SB 757, Senator Charles Perry; HB 1906, Representative Drew Springer;
“By repealing these outdated taxes, we are creating a more efficient agency that can better serve the taxpayers,” Comptroller Hegar said. “The resources needed to administer these tax laws should be redeployed to ensure Texans are getting the best possible government at the lowest possible cost, rather than maintaining red tape and regulation unnecessarily burdening business owners.”
Comptroller Hegar’s common sense approach to limiting state government’s influence on Texans and their businesses has the leaders of both chambers applauding his efforts.
House Speaker Joe Straus said, “Comptroller Hegar has found a pragmatic way to reduce taxes while making his agency more efficient.”
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick also commented, saying, “I support all efforts to eliminate needless taxation, so I want to thank Comptroller Hegar for identifying these taxes for repeal.”
Without the additional burdens these taxes place on individuals and businesses throughout the state, economic growth will not only continue to prosper but flourish at an even higher level. Less taxation will lead to more money being kept in the pockets of all Texans, and will also promote greater liberty statewide.
More state agency leaders should follow Comptroller Hegar’s lead and actively look for ways to improve the functions and structure of their agency in order to provide higher quality service to Texans at a lower cost. It’s just common sense.