Yesterday Speaker Richardson was gracious enough to speak to members of Americans for Prosperity during their annual Capitol Day. He outlined what his current plans are with regard to tax reform and I have to say it is a program I can get behind.
I didn’t get a chance to get bill numbers from the Speaker but his plan currently comes in four parts:
1. A Constitutional Amendment to freeze property reassessments to 2% of the value of a property. Therefore your local taxing jurisdiction can’t decide in one year that your property which was appraised at $100,000 is now worth $300,000 and triple your property tax burden. The most a taxing jurisdiction can re-assess your property to would be $102,000. The cap on business property would be 3%. This basically forces cities and counties to vote to raise taxes if they want to increase revenue and allow the citizens to hold them accountable for said actions. Senator Rogers has a similar bill he is working on in the Senate.
2. There would be a cap on the amount local governments can raise their taxes before the tax increase would have to be put to the voters in the form of a ballot question.
3. There would be an immediate phase out of the grocery and lotto sales tax exemptions and a gradual phase in of the Personal Services sales tax (as outlined in previous versions of the GREAT Plan). This would allow for:
4. An immediate phase out of the ad-valorum taxes on automobiles and an eventual phase out of the school component of local property taxes.
I’ve got to say, I kind of like this plan. The reassessment and tax increase limitations place more power in the hands of the people to decide how much their cities and counties will tax them. The phase-out of the school property tax simplifies QBE funding and moves us more towards a system where the money follows the child and not the district.