Wednesday, March 16, 2005

HB 3

Late Monday night the Texas House of Representatives passed HB 3. Which will, ahem, ease the tax burden on the people of Texas. Here is how the locals voted. House votes to change tax system
"This bill is only a tax savings for the people in the highest income brackets," said Rep. Scott Hochberg, D-Houston. GOP Reps. Todd Baxter of Austin, Dan Gattis of Georgetown and Mike Krusee of Williamson County voted for the bill.

Rep. Terry Keel, R-Austin, voted against it. Also voting against it were Democratic Reps. Patrick Rose of Dripping Springs and Dawnna Dukes, Eddie Rodriguez, Elliott Naishtat and Mark Strama of Austin.
All the locals voted the same as they did on HB 2 except for Terry Keel who switched sides.

This bill so far does not seem to be very well received by the "conservative" wing of the Republican Party, much less anyone else. Call me crazy but I don't think substituting an income tax for lower property taxes was what the Republicans in the Legislature had in mind when this process started. Much less those that voted for them. State Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, and Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin have come out publicly for a state income tax, State income tax mulled, but not likely. That of course would take a joint resolution to pass both houses, be signed by the Governor and then get a majority vote from the people of Texas. That, of course, is the result of SJR 49 passed in 1993 by the 73rd Legislature, if you can remember back that far. I'd be willing to bet that every person that voted in favor that resolution said they did it so that only the people of Texas could ever vote in a state income tax. My question is if the people of Texas wanted an income tax could they even get it on the ballot? I guess the funny part of this is that the Legislature took such radical steps in 1993 to insure there would NEVER be a state income tax that when it became the only way for the Republicans to save their school finance plan they had to sneak it by the people of Texas. I would have loved to been a fly on the wall when the Republicans came to that conclusion. Just imagine Krusee, Gattis and all the other no tax Republicans campaigning for a state income tax.

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