Strayhorn Says House Tax Plan Falls Short

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The Texas House's $10.8 billion tax plan falls almost four billion dollars short of the property tax relief promised for the next two years.

That's according to a letter obtained Tuesday from the state
comptoller's office by The Associated Press.

The bill passed by the House last week was part of a package to
restructure the way Texas pays for K-through-12 public education.

The proposal would offset a one-third slash in school property taxes with a reformed business tax and a variety of consumer taxes.
Those include a sales tax hike and an additional three percent snack tax.

The letter blames the shortfall on the reformed business tax, in which Texas employers are given a choice between the current franchise tax and a new tax on wages.

But Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn wrote House Speaker Tom
Craddick that the bill doesn't provide for a minimum tax. She says
taxpayers would simply circumvent the new tax as easily as they do the current tax." She says employers could circumvent the tax by replacing existing staff with leased staff.