There seems to be broad agreement between leaders of the Texas House and Senate that even hard-to-notice tax cuts are still good.
Those leaders also broadly agree on how to deliver tax cuts to Texas businesses. Both chambers want to cut the franchise tax.
But there are sharp differences on tax relief for individuals.
The House, under Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, has the better way.
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Bonnen would cut the state’s portion of the sales tax to 5.95 percent from its current 6.25 percent. The local sales tax rate, a maximum of 2 percent, would not change.
The rate drop would cost the state about $2.3 billion over the next two years and would save the average family of four around $172 a year.
The savings would not be easily noticed, because it will come just pennies at a time with each purchase over the course of the year.
But Bonnen’s approach is fair. To increase the impact would require putting billions more dollars into it, which neither the House nor the Senate seems inclined to do.
In the Senate, where members approved a $211 billion budget for 2016-17 on Tuesday, the plan calls for devoting more than $2 billion to local property tax cuts.
The Senate would achieve those cuts by increasing the homestead exemption for school district property taxes, then reimbursing districts for the cost.
Estimates are that the average homeowner would save $206 in the first year.
In theory, that benefits everyone, because even people who don’t own their homes end up paying taxes that are calculated into their rents.
But can renters count on any tax savings being passed on by their landlords? Only in theory. The sales tax cut is more of a sure bet for them.
Bonnen’s franchise tax cut, a proposed 25 percent across-the-board rate decrease, is also better than the Senate’s 15 percent drop with additional breaks for small businesses.
Leaders of the two chambers obviously have some differences to work out. We hope Bonnen prevails.