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If every Texan paid the same percentage of their income in state and local taxes as the poor, then Texas would have a budget surplus to deal with instead of a deficit!
There are only 4 states with a more regressive state and local taxation system than Texas according to The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy at http://www.itepnet.org. A report on that site demonstrates in detail how 20% of Texans with the lowest incomes pay 12.2% of their income in state and local taxes while the wealthiest 1% only pay 3%. That wealthiest 1% of families is composed of 100,000 Texan families with average incomes of almost $2 million a year.
If the wealthiest 5% of Texans were to pay from 1% to 5% more of income in a state income tax, raising the full state and local tax rate to as much as 8% for the most wealthy, then Texas will have an additional $24+ BILLION DOLLARS over the next two years in the Texas budget. That will eliminate the currently projected budget deficit! Children will NOT need to suffer due to cuts now planned. The progress in Texas schools now happening will continue!
If the paying of 12.2% of income in state and local taxes by the poorest 20% of families in Texas is acceptable, why is an 8% tax rate too high for the wealthy? Since the flattening of the effective tax rate will be done with a state income tax, those paying it will be able to deduct it on their federal tax forms as a federal deduction offset. The federal government would pay part of the cost, lowering the effective tax rate below 8%.
Without such a change, the 4,900,000 children in the public schools of Texas will suffer. They will suffer due to a multitude of state services for children that are being cut, including school cuts leading to a lower quality of education in more crowded classrooms. This will affect their entire lives, and certainly the future of Texas.
With one amendment, Texas HB 354, would achieve the income needed to balance the Texas budget. It requires an income tax be established for families with annual incomes in excess of $150,000. The proposed formula is a 3% tax on income earned from $150,000 to $250,000, 4% on income from $250,000 to $500,000, 5% on income over $500,000 to $1,000,000, and 6% on income over $1,000,000. The average $2,000,000 annual income family would pay $98,000 in additional taxes. Each such family could save one teacher's job, help about 50 children have a better education, and provide additional funds to avoid other cuts for the poor and elderly. The 100,000 families alone would help save 100,000 teachers! The agony now spreading throughout our schools statewide will help make the passage of such an equalization of taxation increasingly possible by November of this year.
Please call Gov. Perry (800-252-9600), Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (512-463-0001), and Speaker of the House Joe Straus (512-463-1000) to support HB 354. Then call your own legislators, and the members of the House Ways and Means Committee where HB 354 is assigned urging that a hearing be held on this critical legislation.
If HB 354 and similar legislation is not actively supported by our legislators then Texans must know who it was that is responsible for what we will see in our schools beginning with the 2011/2012 school year in August.
Legislators must be expected to act in a manner that is consistent with their verbal claims to believe the children of Texas are the future! Verbal claims count little. Actions count!
Please call your legislator to ask that they sign on as a co-sponsor to HB 354.
If you are attending a rally you may want to see the signs available for download at this link, “NO CUTS!” signs. It helps to have similar messages.
Bill Betzen, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.studentmotivation.org