Taxes, Perry, Bell, Strayhorn
Definite differences in what the gubernatorial candidates are promising to do on taxes:
"Our budget surplus is going to be so friggin' big," Perry said. "So why not lower the [business] tax rate down to three-fourths of a cent, or a half-cent? ... I'm all for that."
The new business tax, part of a sweeping school finance overhaul, takes effect in January 2008. Most businesses will be taxed at a rate of 1 percent. The overhaul was designed to reduce the state's reliance on the property tax to fund schools.
Apart from possibly lowering business tax rates, a big surplus would allow lawmakers to further reduce property taxes, as well as fund the dilapidated state park system and other long-neglected needs, Perry said.
But Perry's Democratic opponent, Chris Bell, said dollars from both the surplus and the new business tax -- which he calls the "largest tax increase" in history -- should be tapped to increase funding for public education.
"Now he's saying none of that can go to our public schools," said Bell spokesman Jason Stanford. "What's wrong with that boy?"
Another Perry opponent, independent Carole Keeton Strayhorn, accused the governor of using fuzzy math to entice voters as the Nov. 7 election draws near. Strayhorn spokesman Mark Sanders said the reforms Perry signed this year are already destined to blow a $25 billion hole in the budget over the next five years because they promise more property tax relief than the state can deliver.
Meanwhile, Perry is attacking Bell for wanting higher taxes.
No flames or impolite behavior. HTML will be stripped. URLs will be transformed into hyperlinks.
Comments must be approved before being published.