The Austin Chronicle

Bill of the Week

By Richard Whittaker, May 6, 2011, News

House Bill 2187
Filed: March 4, 2011
Author: Rep. John Davis, R-Houston

For anyone worried that the state of Texas is not sinking fast enough, here comes a tax break for people buying yachts worth more than a quarter of a million dollars. The original language of the bill would cap the sales tax on a private pleasure boat at $15,625, which the Legislative Budget Board forecasts will cost Texas $1.4 million a year for the next five years. This has not stopped bill author Davis from calling it an economic development bill, because apparently Texas was losing too many millionaire yacht-buying dollars to Florida. While most budget bills this year are just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, this one is doing the iceberg's job. Almost unbelievably, it might actually pass. On April 28, the House Ways and Means Committee voted it out 8-3 after Davis tweaked its terms to raise the maximum payable tax to match Florida's $18,000 cap, meaning no extra tax on a boat worth more than $288,000. To quote Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, "With all due respect, sometimes I'm not sure what planet my Republican colleagues live on."

LegeLand teaser: For a status report on Sen. Kirk Watson's "honesty agenda" and more, see

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