I know, I know, knock me over with a feather.
A proposed $11 billion tax bill before the Texas House would create a new sales tax on bottled water, but the excise tax on beer, wine and liquor escapes any increase -- as it has since 1984.
A search of the Texas Ethics Commission database turns up no campaign contributions from Evian or Perrier, the nation's largest distributors of bottled water. But Texas' liquor industry donated $726,000 to Texas politicians in 2004 alone, with almost $300,000 of that coming from Houstonian John Nau, president of Silver Eagle Distributors LLP.
Suzii Paynter, a lobbyist for the Christian Life Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, thinks water is being taxed in the bill because it does not have an army of lobbyists like the liquor industry and some other big businesses do.
"They (lobbyists) are some of the most highly paid whiners in the world," Paynter said. "Instead of trying to figure out how to make this system work for Texas and its kids and everybody sharing the burden of it, they see their job as whining about their industry."
Some of the biggest industrial sector donors in the past two years and their proposed tax cuts are:
Finance, insurance and real estate -- $896.5 million a year in tax cuts; $7.3 million in political contributions.
Utilities and transportation -- $222.2 million in cuts; $6.1 million in donations.
Oil, gas and petrochemical -- $399 million in cuts; $5.1 million in donations.
And the winner for Best Use of Ideological Blinkers is:
Supporters of the tax bill say it will improve the state's economy by reducing taxes on capital to spur investment.
"We haven't built a new oil refinery in Texas since the '70s," said John Gormley, communications director of the Texas Association of Realtors.