How Could The Huge Texas Budget Surplus Help Us In Lubbock?
Texas has an enormous budget surplus. Clearly, that money came from us and should go back to us, but in what manner? And how specifically for Lubbock?
Where did the surplus come from?
Sales tax. This is the direct result of inflation, and because sales tax is collected based on a percentage of the sale (6.25%, with local governments tacking on up to 2% more) the overall amount of tax collected meant that Texas has an additional $27 to $35 billion dollars, according to Texas Public Radio.
Some Republicans want the money to serve as relief for property taxes, which admittedly are quite high. In fact, Texas has the 7th highest property tax rate in the U.S., but keep in mind we do not pay state income taxes as most other states do.
Is it fair?
This sounds like a decent idea, except for the fact that we don't all own property here in Texas, yet we all pay sales tax. That feels a little unfair to me, and like the haves are getting rewarded off the backs of the have-nots. I don't think I'll see a dime of benefit if my landlord has lower taxes. On the other hand, should I choose to purchase a house, it might be marginally more affordable for me, but with house prices still astronomically high, I still can't really see a direct benefit to would-be home buyers.
What's the solution?
My first instinct was just give everyone a dang refund. But then I did the math and if I'm correct, if every Texan over 18 got their own cut of the pie, it's only $233 and that's not figuring any administrative costs with dispersing the checks. And while I wouldn't hate $200, I'm not sure it would benefit my life that much.
Should be delegated to local governments?
I think so. I'd like to see Lubbock get a check to spend on the things Lubbock needs most. Drainage improvement, funding for schools, the creation of more green spaces, new swimming pools, and more. If the money was delegated on a local level, we'd have way more say in how it's spent, because our elected officials have to live with us and hear from us in Town Hall meetings, at the grocery store, etc. It feels more accountable and more useful this way.
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