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Texas Bill Would Repeal State Business Franchise Tax


November 18, 2014
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Texas state legislators hit the ground running following the election, taking advantage of the Nov. 10 chance to pre-file bills for the coming 84th Legislature. The 84th Legislature doesn’t officially start until January, but that didn’t stop lawmakers from pre-filing bills that demonstrate where they stand on a variety of new and old issues, according to The Corpus Christi Caller Times. More than 300 bills had already been filed by noon on Nov. 10. Bills ranged from drug testing for welfare recipients to texting while driving. Democrats filed bills in favor of gay marriage and raising the minimum wage.

A number of bills were also filed regarding small business, according to the news source. State Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, filed SB 134, which is intended to set up a permanent $5 million revenue exemption from the state business tax, also known locally as the gross margins tax or franchise tax.

According to Breitbart, State Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, went even further. The senator pre-filed SB 105, which would repeal the Texas business tax entirely. This would make Texas the largest state to have no tax on business or personal income tax, followed by Nevada, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming.

“The margins tax is a uniquely harmful tax,” Sen. Estes told Breitbart Texas. “It has high compliance costs, picks winners and losers by treating similar businesses differently, and must be paid whether or not a business turns a profit. Passing the margins tax was a huge mistake and it should be repealed.”

Breitbart did not note how the state would make up for the corresponding loss of tax revenue.

The Caller Times noted that many of these bills are unlikely to make it through committee, though this legislature in Texas is slated to be more conservative than the last.