Unlike most Texans, State Rep. Paul Workman (R – Austin) owns a private plane.
According to his most recent personal financial statement, Workman is invested in an airplane partnership known as N224TB, LLC. Until 2015, the partnership owned and operated a 6-passenger Beechcraft single-engine airplane, which was destroyed following a crash landing and fire near Horseshoe Bend Resort in May 2015.
While the plane no longer exists, the partnership lives on. Which could help explain why, on February 8, 2017 – just a month into the 85th session – Workman authored a multi-million-dollar tax cut proposal which would have benefited him, the other investors in N224TB, LLC, and other wealthy Texans.
House Bill 1682 exempted owners and operators of luxury aircraft from paying state sales and excise taxes when they repaired, remodeled or provided maintenance on a plane. Under current law, flight schools and instructors, and planes used for agricultural purposes are exempted from sales and excise taxes. Workman wanted to extend this tax exemption, to “anyone,” meaning anyone wealthy enough to afford their own private plane.
The Texas Legislative Budget Board estimated this measure would have robbed the state highway fund of about $5 million in 2018, diverting funds from local roads into the pockets of millionaires and billionaires who own private jets.
Fortunately, HB-1682 never made it out of committee, but it highlights how some legislators look out for their bottom line, and argue for “tax cuts” to effectively line their own pockets.