Report: Texas allows billions in tax exemptions

Fort Worth Star-TelegramMarch 1, 2011 

AUSTIN - A 68-page report released by Texas Comptroller Susan Combs on Monday offers a detailed look at billions of dollars in state tax exemptions and could fuel renewed discussion on rolling back certain tax breaks as lawmakers deal with a multibillion-dollar budget shortfall.

Exemptions from sales, franchise, and gasoline and motor vehicle sales taxes for the 2011 fiscal year that ends on Aug. 31, 2011, will amount to $32.2 billion, Combs reported. In addition to state revenue, exemptions to local school district property taxes will amount to additional $6 billion, Combs said.

Exemptions to the state sales tax, the state's biggest source of revenue, will total $30.8 billion for the current fiscal year, Combs said, although some items exempted from the sales tax are taxed from other sources. Gasoline tax exemptions will amount to $113 million. Motor vehicle sales tax exemptions will total $125 million.

"While sales and use tax collections totaled $19.6 billion in fiscal 2010," Combs said, "the tax is limited in scope when compared with the total number and kind of transactions in the economy, because of various exemptions and exclusions," Combs said.

Lawmakers are struggling to write a balanced budget for the 2012-13 fiscal biennium without raising taxes.

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