FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 12/08/2016
Metcalf Takes Aim at Franchise Taxes, Medicaid, State Spending, and Property Taxation
AUSTIN – On December 8, 2016 State Representative Will Metcalf filed an ambitious package of legislation that tackles a wide range of issues affecting state government.
Under current law, when state funds are left unspent and not dedicated to any purpose at the end of the state's two year budget cycle, one half of the left over funds is sent to the state's savings account, the Rainy Day Fund. The rest is returned to the state's general revenue fund for allocation during the next two year budget cycle. House Bill 538 and House Joint Resolution 41 would take half of the money that goes to general revenue and instead rebate that money to businesses that the pay the franchise tax. "The ultimate goal is to repeal this harmful and burdensome tax," said Metcalf. "The franchise tax has failed to deliver the revenue that was predicted while causing much harm to many businesses. This tax specifically harms struggling businesses or those just starting out by still requiring franchise tax payments even if the business operates at a loss for the year. That is no way to support your business community. House Bill 538 and House Joint Resolution 41 are a positive step to provide much needed relief and at least take a step in the right direction for the Texas economy. This legislation only uses unspent and undedicated funds and affects no other revenue streams. This is a practical and responsible approach to provide relief to payers of the franchise tax and move our state closer to the ultimate goal of fully repealing this complicated tax."
House Bill 542 by Representative Metcalf would require adult Medicaid applicants to pass a drug screen. Metcalf explained, "There is no question that use of illicit drugs is a significant cost driver in an individual's cost of healthcare. Medicaid in particular is eating up a larger and larger portion of the state's budget with increases in the costs of healthcare. House Bill 542 would require an adult applicant for Medicaid benefits to pass a drug screen, show a medicinal purpose for the drug usage, or enter drug treatment prior to the receipt of Medicaid benefits. Texas taxpayers should not subsidize the use of illegal drugs."
Representative Metcalf also filed House Bill 541 and House Joint Resolution 42 to further restrict the state spending limit. Metcalf's legislation would set the state spending limit at the lesser of the rate of increase population place the rate of inflation or the rate of growth of the state's economy, which is the current standard. "Our current spending cap matches the rate of growth of the economy, which is great, because it limits your budget growth to what your economy can handle." Metcalf elaborated further, "However, during good economic conditions when the economy grows rapidly, this can lead to excessive and unnecessary spending beyond what is actually needed. That is why I believe spending should also be limited by population growth and inflation. We must start factoring in both what the economy can sustain and what is actually needed."
Finally, Representative Metcalf is recommending additional changes to the property tax system. House Bill 540 would amend current law related to the award of attorney's fees in a property tax appeal by giving homeowners the ability to receive an award of full attorney's fees if they have successfully appealed to a court in three consecutive tax years. "Ongoing appraisal abuse is a constant concern in our property tax system," said Metcalf. "Our current system limits the recovery of attorney's fees for all taxpayers. It is my belief that especially in an instance of ongoing appraisal abuse, a homeowner should have the right of full recovery of attorney's fees."
To read this legislation, visit www.legis.state.tx.us, or for more information, contact our Capitol office at (512) 463-0726.
REPRESENTATIVE WILL METCALF represents District 16, which encompasses parts of Montgomery County (Conroe, Montgomery, Willis, New Caney, and Splendora).