Spending cap, tax relief to be considered separately

Staff Report, Alice Echo-News Journal

During the third Special Session of the 79th Legislature, the State's leadership failed to provide proportionate tax relief to Texans who are over 65 years old and people with disabilities, said State Rep. Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles.

Because of the inaction by the leadership, 1.2 million senior citizens and over a 100,000 disabled Texans were denied their long overdue tax relief, she said.

Since assuming office, more than two years ago, Toureilles has voted to bring property tax relief for all Texans.

Early in the current legislative session, the House and Senate Leadership had intended to couple tax relief for both senior citizens and the disabled, with a measure allowing the legislature to exceed the constitutional budget spending cap.

However, through the combined efforts of both Democratic and Republican House Members, as well as the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP), the legislative leaderships' stance has changed.

The legislature will now deal with these issues separately.

"The tax break senior citizens have earned should not be used as a shield for busting the spending cap," Toureilles said.

"The AARP was accurate when they stated 'it's wrong to hold tax cuts for seniors hostage to the spending cap issue.'"

Toureilles said exceeding the spending cap needs to be dealt with as a stand-alone issue.

"I may support exceeding the spending cap only if I am assured by the leadership that we will spend money on issues important to District 35," she said.

"These issues include fully funding the Personal Needs Allowance for the elderly in our nursing homes, providing more money to higher education to establish new professional programs in the district and ensuring students in our public schools have the resources they need in the classrooms to provide them a great education."

Toureilles requests her constituents contact her office at 1-800-240-2294 with any questions or concerns.