July 14, 2008
The tax that dare not speak its name

This came out last month, a little before some of the recent angst about the business margins tax hit the news. It's not something we haven't heard before, but it's definitely something we need to hear again.

The quality of life in Texas depends on our producing a well-educated workforce that can meet the demands of a global economy. A strong and vibrant public education for all Texas children is an essential precondition for a prepared workforce and a prosperous, competitive economy. In fact, providing public education is one of the constitutionally mandated charges of the state legislature. However, the state's current revenue system is not providing adequate funding to fulfill this charge. Adding a personal state income tax to our tax mix is the best way to meet our needs.

The details are all in this handy PDF. The bottom line is simple:

Only a personal income tax can significantly reduce reliance on property taxes - cutting the school operations tax from $1.00 to 10 cents per $100 of property value - while providing adequately for education - $7 billion in new revenue annually. Alternative tax proposals are not able to reduce property taxes as much or fund public education as well. An income tax would reduce taxes on most Texans, including the middle class, and benefit the economy.

So this would do a better job of achieving the goals that Sen. Dan "I Want To Raise Your Taxes!" Patrick says he wants to achieve, while being more equitable and better for education. He'll never support it, of course, but that's to be expected. Just remember this the next time he or someone like him brings up the idea of swapping property taxes for sales taxes. There's a better way, and this is it.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 14, 2008 to Budget ballyhoo

How much longer can this go on? Surely sooner or later someone in power is going to figure out that Texas needs a healthy, educated workforce that can get to work (for free) in a reasonable amount of time. And that it might take a little more money to get where we need to be.

Posted by: David Siegel on July 14, 2008 11:00 PM
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