Moral Low Ground

US Government

Texas Republicans, while Slashing $7.8 Billion from Public Schools Budget, Propose Tax Break for Owners of $250,000+ Yachts

“With all due respect, sometimes I’m not sure what planet my Republican colleagues live on,” Mike Villarreal, a San Antonio Democrat in the Texas House of Representatives declared. “How can they say tax breaks for yachts are a higher priority than supporting our children’s classrooms or keeping nursing homes open?”

Somebody give this guy a tax break!

But that’s exactly what Texas Republicans have done, proposing a bill that will cap taxes on sales of high-end boats. The bill, HB 2187, was sponsored by Houston Republican Rep. John Davis and will apply to yachts costing $250,000 or more. Top Republicans are confident the bill, which has already been passed in committee, will be approved by the full House.

This, in the midst of the worst state budget crisis since World War II.

According to ThinkProgress, Texas will slash $27 billion from its budget, including massive cuts to education, nursing homes and health care for the poor. A staggering $7.8 billion will be cut from the public schools budget, four community colleges will be closed, financial aid for 60,000 college students will end, up to 97,000 teachers and school workers will be laid off, ditto for 9,300 government employees, health and human services funding will be cut by 25%, and Medicaid will come up short by $14,000,000,000– all while the state’s leaders refuse to tap into the state’s massive $9.4 billion rainy day fund.

The Lone Star State’s yacht salesmen need not worry, though; they’ll save millions thanks to HB 2187. The Associated Press and ThinkProgress say Davis authored the bill to stop prospective yacht buyers from flocking to Florida, which has a similar tax break in place. Davis called the bill “an economic development;” House Ways and Means Chairman Harvey Hilderbran (also a Republican) said it was “one of those things you have to do.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought that providing quality education and health care are the “things you have to do” before handing out tax breaks to wealthy yacht owners.

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