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Comptroller News

FEDERAL INCOME TAX

Strayhorn renews call for halt to discriminatory treatment

Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn updated her report, Restoration of the IRS Sales Tax Deduction Should be One of Texas' Main Priorities in Congress, in June, calling for a halt to the discriminatory treatment of Texas taxpayers.

"The current system is unfair," Strayhorn said. "An Oklahoman who pays a state income tax can deduct that amount from her or his federal tax return. But the antiquated federal law punishes those of us who pay state and local sales taxes rather than state income taxes."

Strayhorn's report shows that Texas families and the state's economy will benefit if state and local sales taxes, along with motor vehicle sales taxes, are deductible on federal income tax returns. The report estimates the average Texas family that itemizes tax deductions would see an extra $310 each year in its pockets for the family's priorities, and the net tax savings would generate 16,573 new jobs and $923 million in increased gross state product in 2005.


FOSTER CARE

Strayhorn to propose new laws for foster care

Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn announced in July that she has instructed her staff to develop sweeping new legislation to reform the foster care system in Texas after the agency that oversees the system, the Department of Family and Protective Services, took substantive action on only seven of the 87 reforms she recommended in her 2004 Forgotten Children review of the foster care system in Texas.

"I am sad to report that the agency charged with caring for these children has ignored my key recommendations, half-heartedly implemented others and generally refused to recognize and accept responsibility for the crisis that is literally threatening children's lives," Strayhorn said.


TAX RELIEF

Comptroller grants tax relief to hail storm victims

Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn announced in June that taxpayers in the counties affected by a recent hail storm in the Texas Panhandle may postpone paying state taxes.

Upon request, taxpayers in the affected counties, including Potter and Randall, potentially could be granted an extension of up to 90 days to file tax returns due in June, July and August.

"As always, when a disaster affects people's lives and livelihoods, I want to do everything I can to help the folks who are affected," Strayhorn said. "These individuals and families need this time to get their lives, homes and businesses back in order."

For more information, or to request a tax filing extension, call the Comptroller's toll-free tax assistance line in Austin at 800-252-2555.


SALES TAX

State and local sales tax revenues remain healthy

In July, Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn said the state received $1.18 billion in sales tax revenue in June, up 4.1 percent compared with June 2003, marking 10 consecutive months of sales tax growth.

Strayhorn delivered $315.6 million in July sales tax allocations to cities, counties and other local taxing entities. Strayhorn sent sales tax allocations of $214 million to Texas cities, up 2.7 percent compared with July 2003, $18.8 million to Texas counties, up 0.9 percent compared with a year ago, $8.6 million to 85 special-purpose taxing districts, up 3.6 percent compared with last July, and $73.9 million to nine local transit systems, up 5.3 percent compared with a year ago.