Tags: Texas | budget | tax | tighten

Texas Lawmaker Vows Budget Tightening Without Tax Slap

Wednesday, 09 Mar 2011 03:10 PM

A key Republican lawmaker in Texas vows not to make any big changes in tax policy as the state struggles to bridge a budget shortfall, the Austin American-Statesman reported Wednesday. "There is an opportunity to enhance revenue, but it won't be through a tax bill," State Rep. Harvey Hilderbran of Kerrville told the newspaper.

The state is facing a $27 million hole in its budget for 2012-13, and budget writers are struggling with ways to fill it.

Hilderbran, the new chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, said he sees opportunities that could generate $500 million or more by enforcing existing laws better, closing some loopholes, and tinkering with some tax exemptions.

However, he said he won’t touch sales tax exemptions, as one lawmaker proposed eliminating to raise $1.5 billion.

"That's a tax hike, and that's not what we're going to be working on this session," Hilderbran said. "We're not changing the code substantially or significantly. We're just basically making it more effective."

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