Your Questions Answered: Sales tax increase for property tax relief

State GOP leaders propose raising sales tax by 1% to lower property taxes

By Garrett Brnger - Reporter, Jason Foster - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - Texans may be asked to consider paying more at the store in order to pay less on their home.

Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen released a joint statement Wednesday that proposed raising the sales tax by 1 percent to help lower property taxes. 

"Texans are fed up with skyrocketing property taxes," the statement said in part. "If the one-cent increase in the sales tax passes, it will result in billions of dollars in revenue to help drive down property taxes in the short and long term."

Abbott's press secretary, John Whittman, said the details still need to be worked out. Wittman said the approach is to have the tax proposal pass as a constitutional amendment, which means voters would need to approve the idea.

The statement released by Abbott, Patrick and Bonnen mentions that a plan to curb the growth of property tax rates needs to be passed first.

The idea of swapping tax burdens is a tempting idea to some homeowners.

"Our property tax keeps going up even though we're retired, and it gets tight after a while," said Johnnie Szcyubialka, a San Antonio homeowner.

The current state sales tax rate is 6.25 percent. In San Antonio; it rises to 8.25 percent with local taxes added.

How much an extra percentage point would matter depends on who you ask.

"I don't think it would affect at all. It's just 1 percent," said Marisela Tijerina, who said her family is looking to buy a home soon.

But homeowner Judy King is opposed to the proposed tax swap.

"I mean, it will hurt everybody. But it will really hurt the lower income, because this is where a lot of your money goes," King said. "Whereas on property tax, it's not as bad."

Szcyubialka pointed out that a consumer can choose what they're going to buy. But when it comes to property taxes, "They raise it whether you like it or not."

Renters would be stuck dealing with a sales tax increase without seeing any direct benefit on property taxes, which they don't pay.

Rudy Perez said "it all adds up" when it comes to the sales tax. 

Perez is skeptical that as a renter he would see any kind of benefit trickling down to him from his landlord in the form of lowered rents.

"Fat chance," he said.

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