Thursday, May 11, 2006

PEAR Responds to Senate Vote


To all progressive leaders and activists in Texas:
  • Progressive leaders (that’s you) might be excused for not paying careful attention to the special session on property tax reduction. After all, education issues – and particularly school finance – are intricate and, frankly, boring. More importantly, they really do not affect (INSERT YOUR INTEREST HERE – environment, hunger, CHIP, higher education, criminal justice, etc.) at all – OR DO THEY?
  • The Perry Plan dedicates all revenues from the new sources of state income (the business margins tax, the used car sales tax, and the increased cigarette taxes) to property tax reduction. Period. Since the business margins tax replaces the franchise tax, which means there’s already $4 billion a biennium less available for all the needs of the state.
  • The Perry Plan also promises property tax reductions down to $1.00, regardless of whether the new revenues are adequate to pay for them. And, according to the Comptroller, the gap between the total cost of the property tax reductions and the revenues from the new sources will be $13 billion over the next five years! Look at Nifty Chart #1 from Representative Garnet Coleman’s office at the end of this memo. Nifty Chart #2 shows the year-by-year gap in the state budget under the Perry Plan.
  • Here’s the bottom line: Beginning next session, you will be competing for resources with a smaller pool of available revenues, and against a hungry, multi-billion dollar monster called “property tax reductions.” Where will any money come from? You’ll be asking your allies in the Legislature to raise sales taxes to pay for your priorities.
  • What you can do: Get off your ass. Now. The critical vote may happen tonight!
    • Contact your State Representative and ask him or her to vote NO ON CONCURRENCE WITH CSHB 1.
    • Contact your organization’s leaders and members, asking them to contact their representatives to vote NO on concurrence with CSHB 1. We will be sending you talking points for your communications very soon.


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