For the sixth time in six years, state Rep. Lon Burnam is proposing that Texas create a state income tax.
Burnam, a Fort Worth Democrat, has previously filed five similar bills since 2004. Each went nowehere. On Monday, he filed his sixth version of a proposal that has few other cheerleaders in the Legislature.
Talk of Burnam's bill caught the attention of some TV and radio stations around the state earlier this summer, in part linked to the debate over how large next year's the budget shortfall would be. Some lawmakers say the shortfall will be more than $20 billion.
Burnam is framing his bill as primarily a property tax relief measure for low and middle-income Texans. A "modest" income tax of 3 to 6 percent on those making more than $150,000 per year would yield approximately $8 billion every biennium, two-thirds of which would reduce property taxes by 20% for all home owners, according to Burnam's office. The rest would go toward the foundation school fund.
"If I can drive home the fact that this is a property tax relief bill for 85 percent of Texans, maybe people will start paying attention," Burnam said earlier this year.
In August, Gov. Rick Perry was at a Fort Worth Wal-Mart propoting the state sales tax holiday when he was asked by a reporter about Burnam's proposal.
"I think Lon will be a very lonely fellow in his quest to pass a personal state income tax," Perry said.