Tribpedia: Texas Taxpayers And Research Association

Tribpedia

The Texas Taxpayers and Research Association (TTARA) is a non-profit organization of businesses and individuals interested in state and local fiscal policies in Texas.

The group, which is nonpartisan, tracks and lobbies on state fiscal policy and focuses on "the nexus between public fiscal policy and private business activity," according to its Web site. In addition to the advocacy wing ...

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Analysis: Cutting a Tax the State Does Not Levy

Some officeholders have raised the idea of replacing Texas' property tax with a larger sales tax. But that could create some new fiscal challenges.
Some officeholders have raised the idea of replacing Texas' property tax with a larger sales tax. But that could create some new fiscal challenges.

The state of Texas does not levy a property tax, but state lawmakers would like to lower property tax bills anyway — a quest that could take them into school finance or into relief for some taxpayers at the expense of others. Increasing tax exemptions for homeowners, for instance, could increase tax bills paid by business property owners.

Gov. Rick Perry discusses the merger of UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville in a speech in Brownsville on July 16, 2013.
Gov. Rick Perry discusses the merger of UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville in a speech in Brownsville on July 16, 2013.

Texas is a Low-Tax State, Sometimes

The governor likes to talk about the state's low tax burden when he's selling companies on Texas. He's right about that, but only sometimes. Taxes are low for individuals, but not for businesses.

A worker waits to load a piece of pipe, or casing, that will be lowered into the well at a Chesapeake Energy drill site in Dimmit County, Texas in the Eagle Ford Shale.
A worker waits to load a piece of pipe, or casing, that will be lowered into the well at a Chesapeake Energy drill site in Dimmit County, Texas in the Eagle Ford Shale.

Shale Boom Has Major Impact on Texas' Budget

Besides boosting the economies of remote towns, the shale boom has big implications for the Texas economy and budget. Already, taxes on oil and gas production have soared above the comptroller’s estimates. 

Carol Strayhorn announces for governor, June, 2005.
Carol Strayhorn announces for governor, June, 2005.

A Texas-Sized Budget Problem Deferred — to Now

The 2006 tax swap — lowering local school property taxes and creating a new business tax to make up the difference — is at the center of Texas' current budget troubles. The architects are still pointing fingers over what and whom to blame for the state's “structural deficit.”

Estimating How Much Texas Will Collect is a Dark Art

Lawmakers are waiting for Comptroller Susan Combs to forecast exactly how much money the state will collect between now and August 2013 so they can write a two-year budget that spends no more than that. It's not exactly like opening the envelopes at the Oscars, but the Capitol community will be hanging on her every word. If history is a guide, her estimate of revenues will be closer to the bull's eye than the Legislature's estimate of spending. But this is a dark art; accuracy can be elusive.

Texas Business Tax Could Increase in 2012

Despite the prospect of a $21 billion budget shortfall, the governor, the lieutenant governor and several state lawmakers have insisted that the upcoming legislative session will be a "no-tax-increase session." But as Erika Aguilar of KUT News reports, small businesses in Texas could still end up paying more taxes.

Texas Legislature Tries to Avoid Tax Increases

Every candidate vying for a legislative seat knows what lies ahead in 2011: a budget shortfall of at least $11 billion, probably higher, and state agency cuts to save as much of that amount as possible. But new revenue is a possibility as well, even if lawmakers are expert at the old sleight of hand, employing creative accounting and semantic trickery to avoid stepping on that political third rail, the tax hike.