Editorials

May 19, 2014

Texas deductions back on the ropes

Maybe it should come as no surprise that hope for restoring Texans’ ability to deduct state and local sales taxes on their federal returns has been dashed again.

Maybe it should come as no surprise that hope for restoring Texans’ ability to deduct state and local sales taxes on their federal returns has been dashed again.

Hope seemed strong last week when the Senate opened debate on a bill to revive and extend more than 50 tax breaks that expired at the end of last year. Then not enough senators were willing to accept or reject one amendment and move on to the next.

The effort stalled. Some insiders said it’s not likely to progress until after the fall elections.

Preparations to debate similar measures in the House have been delayed. Forgive the poor skeptic who says it’s all designed to fail.

Deductions for sales taxes in states such as Texas that do not have state income taxes would stand a good chance of passing on their own merits. Deductions for state income tax payments have long been allowed.

But the so-called extenders bill lumps that issue with such tax breaks as those for owners of thoroughbred racehorses, wind and solar energy, and even arguments about healthcare.

Texans have a right to expect their elected officials to find a way out of this mess. Sen. John Cornyn has promised action, but it hasn’t happened yet.

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