March 13, 2005
Big donors are the big winners

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.

Great minds think alike, Suzii.

"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."

"Highly-paid whiners". I like that.

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.

Obviously, the utilities and transportation folks need to spend their donations better in order to get more bang for their buck.

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.

Because, obviously, too-high property taxes have been standing in the way. It's all clear to me now.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 13, 2005 to Budget ballyhoo | TrackBack

reminds me of a post I saw on inthepinktexas or pinkdome, which was that someone overheard Speaker Tom Craddick at a restaurant talking about how beholden he is to the beer industry.

No wonder they didn't get increased taxes!

Posted by: blech on March 14, 2005 11:13 PM

Nobody's built a refinery in California, either. Why in hell should they when they get more money with tighter supplies and periodic spikes. The oil companies might be greedy, but they're not stupid.
BTW, the utility companies really did fall below the accepted price for buying politicians. The old rule of thumb is a 1,000 fold return on your bxxxe...political contribution. These guys are only getting 350 to 1. They should hire Ralph Reed, Christian for Hire.

Posted by: Common Sense on March 15, 2005 1:38 AM