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From the “I told you so” department

Ladies and gentlemen, our former Comptroller:

Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn did not win friends five years ago when she warned Gov. Rick Perry and state lawmakers they were writing the “largest hot check in Texas history” during a tax overhaul that resulted in lower property taxes and a revised business tax.

Strayhorn told them their plan would fall about $23 billion short over a five-year period.

Now, five years later, state leaders are staring at an estimated budget shortfall of nearly $27 billion over the next two years.

The nation’s economic collapse three years ago contributed to some of the state’s revenue troubles, but the biggest problem is that the new business tax did not generate enough money to pay for the school property tax cut, Strayhorn said Friday.

Strayhorn was right, and she deserves her little moment of vindication. But look, it should have been plain to everyone at the time what was going to happen. From the very beginning, property tax cuts of 2006 have been paid for with surplus revenue – the Republican budget of the 2007 biennium went so far as to set aside extra funds for the 2009 biennium because they knew that the business margins tax would continue to underperform its projections even as improvements were made in the collections process and the state economy was humming along. It’s true that we’re coming out of a historically bad economic slump, but when your new tax brings in less revenue than you budgeted for when times are good, any hiccup will cause you even bigger problems. We’ve known this all along. But there is no bigger priority in today’s Republican Party than giving Dan Patrick a tax cut, so nothing has ever been done. Carole Keeton Strayhorn was right, but she wasn’t alone in foreseeing this.

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One Comment

  1. Brad M. says:

    I wonder if lower income Republicans who rely on assistance will even understand who will be punching them below the belt with the onslaught of budget cuts. Somehow I am sure the Republican leadership will wave a hand in front of their faces, a glaze will come over their eyes and a refrain of “Its the Democrats fault” will sink into their psyche to be understood as gospel fact.