FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 02/21/2005
Rodriguez Calls House Bill 2 ‘Smoke and Mirrors’
~ Says Income Tax is the Only Solution ~
AUSTIN – State Representative Eddie Rodriguez (Austin) joined other members of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus on Wednesday (Feb. 16) criticizing the current version of House Bill 2, saying that the bill will not get Texas out of court.
"House Bill 2 is just smoke and mirrors" said Rodriguez. "It does nothing about the real problem that Texas faces in Public Education, which is equity. That's why Judge Dietz has threatened to close down the entire school system."
According to the Caucus, House Bill 2 actually widens the equity gap. The bill provides no new money for education, fails to restore cuts from last session, and turns a blind eye to the question of overall equity.
"There are at least fifteen pages of obscure formulas that only a handful of policy wonks could understand, and it doesn’t even provide new money or equity," said Rodriguez. "My income tax plan completely abolishes Robin Hood, increases education funding by $5.1 billion, and gives every child an equal opportunity education.”
Compared to other school finance ideas, the Rodriguez plan offers the most drastic property tax cut. Other ideas propose to cut property taxes by no more than 18 percent and taxpayers are powerless against future property tax increases. Rodriguez's plan abolishes the Maintenance and Operations Property Tax, providing a permanent fix that will slash total local property taxes by more than one half, about 55 percent of the average total property tax bill.
"With my plan, the Legislature cannot bring the abolished school tax back from the dead unless we abolish the income tax. The two taxes cannot co-exist,” Rodriguez said. “Texans will have this guarantee in the Constitution."
If the Rodriguez plan is passed, voters will also have control over the income tax rates. Any proposed tax increase by the Legislature must be approved by voters.
Rodriguez’s bill, House Bill 90, has been referred to the House Committee on Public Education. This is the third time that Rodriguez has filed his limited personal income tax, but has never received a hearing.
“We have a tough road ahead of us," said Rodriguez. "My plan takes on the hard questions and gives tax relief to more than 80 percent of Texans. The average Texas family will see 40 dollars withheld from their monthly paycheck, but their monthly mortgage payment will drop 135 dollars. I think most people will see that it’s the only solution once they realize this.”