Springtime in the Lone Star State is hard to beat. With bluebonnets in bloom, bass in the spawning season, and ballparks bustling, I hope you and your family will make it a priority to get outside and soak up all that the Texas spring has to offer.
Another—perhaps not so pleasant—part of the spring season is the arrival of Tax Day. While typically the deadline to file your taxes is April 15, this year the deadline has been extended to April 18 because of the Easter holiday. With that in mind, and in the spirit of tax season, I thought it would be appropriate to explore the House Committee dealing with state and local taxes for our next stop on our tour of Texas House Committees.
House Interim Charge: Ways & Means
The House Committee on Ways and Means oversees all legislation dealing with revenue and taxes at the state and local level. This 11-member committee has jurisdiction over a wide variety of tax-related issues and spends a significant amount of time studying property taxes.
Like many other committees, Ways & Means will monitor legislation passed in the 87th Legislature, including property tax reform, changes in taxpayers’ suits, and the taxation of cigarettes, tobacco products, and e-cigarette sales. Additionally, the Committee will continue to examine the Texas Property Tax Reform and Transparency Act passed by the 86th Legislature, which provides real-time tax information to inform property owners on who is proposing to raise their rates and by how much.
The Committee has been charged to study and consider methods of providing further property tax relief, including the use of $3 billion in available American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds held for future tax relief by the 87th Legislature. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I played a role in directing a little more than $16 billion in federal funds the state received from the ARPA Act, and I’m confident the Legislature will utilize a portion of these funds to alleviate Texans from the burden of high property taxes. The Committee will also explore options to reduce business property tax burdens and opportunities for limiting the growth of property tax bills.
Additionally, the Committee has been tasked with conducting a comprehensive review of the impact of not renewing Chapter 313 in the Tax Code. The Chapter 313 incentive was designed to attract new businesses by offering them a 10-year limitation on their appraised property value for a portion of the school district property tax. The business agrees to build or install new property and create jobs in the school district in exchange for the value limitation. The Chapter 313 incentive is set to expire at the end of 2022 and was not authorized for renewal by the 87th Legislature. Over the interim leading up to the next session, the Ways & Means Committee will evaluate tax incentives offered by other states and seek input from interested stakeholders, tax experts, and most importantly, Texas taxpayers to make recommendations to determine the future of Chapter 313 in Texas.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can help you in any way. My district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762. Additionally, I welcome you to follow along on my Official Facebook Page, where I will be posting regular updates on what’s happening in your State Capitol and sharing information that could be useful to you and your family: https://www.facebook.com/RepTrentAshby/.