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Representative Erin Zwiener: House Bill 2 ‘Doesn’t Lower Taxes’  print page

by: Rep. Zwiener, Erin
04/11/2019

Austin, TX — Representative Erin Zwiener (Driftwood) today expressed serious concern with House Bill 2, which would establish artificially low revenue caps for cities and counties and prevent them from providing essential services to their communities. As written, the bill would place a 2.5% cap on revenue (a number that is often lower than inflation) and require cities and counties to hold an extra election whenever they go above that number. Current state law is 8%.

“It’s not fiscally responsible to skip an oil change,” said Rep. Zwiener. “And that’s what this bill will force our cities and counties to do: delay road maintenance and cut corners with public safety. This is an irresponsible bill that’ll force our local elected officials to break their promises to their communities and will punish our cities who’ve been the most successful at keeping taxes low.”

Rep. Zwiener has filed multiple amendments on HB 2, including provisions to exclude flood mitigation, water development, parks, and open space expenditures from the revenue cap calculations. Other representatives have filed exclusions for public safety, transportation, and infrastructure spending.

Although HB 2 is being promoted as a tax relief bill, it will not lower anyone’s taxes. Rep. Zwiener pointed to two other pieces of legislation as better solutions for lowering property taxes: HB 3, the school finance bill, which the Texas House passed last week, and HB 4352 by Representative Romero, which would double the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $50,000.

“Last week, we passed a landmark school finance bill that included $3 billion for property tax relief, and the average House District 45 homeowner can expect to save $100 on next year’s bill.” Rep. Zwiener said. “I also support expanding the homestead exemption to give homeowners another $325 off their property taxes.”

The House Bill 2 debate comes one day after a joint press release from the governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the house advocating for a “swap”, raising sales taxes to further lower property taxes. Representative Zwiener expressed concerns about whom such a swap would benefit.

“This proposal would raise taxes on 80% of Texans while giving corporate landowners a windfall,” said Rep. Zwiener. “I promised to always fight for fair taxes, and this proposal is anything but fair. Taken together with HB 2, this proposal will force the average Texan to pay more to the state and receive less back in services. Let’s pursue real property tax relief instead of shifting the burden even further onto everyday Texans.”

Contact: Graham Senor

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