Faced with a massive budget shortfall and a no-new-taxes sentiment, Texas lawmakers are considering several options to generate revenue; one major option is unclaimed property reporting. A recent San Antonio Express article titled “Lawmakers try to soften cuts,” outlines some ways Texas plans to try to protect the state budget without violating the no-new-taxes pledge. The options include deferring billions in state payments, speeding up tax collections, offering amnesty on penalties to laggard taxpayers and shortening dormancy periods for some types of unclaimed property.
Some of these measures have already been filed and others should take shape prior to the March 11th bill-filing deadline. In the next several weeks, the House Ways and Means Committee will be holding hearings on proposals including House Bill 257, which could potentially produce $72 million by shortening dormancy periods for unclaimed property such as utility deposits, money orders, and certain types of bank accounts.
Collectively, the budget shortfall is estimated to be anywhere from $15 billion to $27 billion over the next two years. Lawmakers will also discuss Texas House Bill 275 which appropriates nearly $4.3 billion of the economic stabilization fund to meet the deficit in the budget period that ends August 31. Additional options include the deferral of state payments which could make $2.4 billion available and tax collection changes. Two such proposed tax collection changes are a requirement for the state’s business tax to be paid quarterly which could generate close to $3 billion and an amnesty program, aimed to bring in $75 million, that allows businesses that owe sales tax to pay up without additional penalties if they come forward.
Be sure to check back to see what the state chooses to do with its Texas unclaimed property reporting protocol, in an attempt to solve this budget crisis.
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