Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Texas Tax reform Commission (TTRC) Has A Tough Challenge Ahead, It Seems

Everyone seems to agree that changing the tax structure in Texas will be a tough challenge. I think it's a bunch of people trying to set very low expectations so that no matter what they come up with it will look like a victory. Below I will list several of the Texas media articles on the first Meeting of the TTRC. The governor laid out what he wants the commission to do. You will see that even as some talk of this commission being open minded and thinking outside the box it is already closed off to ONE thing. It's interesting to that even though an income tax is off the table they keep talking about it. You'll see a governor calling for a new legislature if an income tax is what is needed. This commission of diverse business leaders and political donors is going to take on the tough challenge of raising taxes on business that will pass those costs onto you:
Since different taxes affect businesses differently, [Waco economist Ray]Perryman said even if a tax overhaul is "revenue neutral" — that is, it doesn't raise overall tax revenue — some businesses will pay more and others will pay less.

Ultimately, he added, 90 percent to 95 percent of business taxes are passed on to individuals, but the initial impact on businesses will be a point of considerable debate.
So you see it's a tough chore or as Sen. Shapleigh said:
"Where is the mother working two jobs to provide for her family? Who represents the family that is trying to pay one of the highest property taxes and the third-highest sales tax rate in the country?" asked Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso.

Mr. Shapleigh predicted the commission would resort to the same approach that was popular among legislative leaders, particularly in the House: heavy on consumer taxes that would raise the overall tax burden for all but the wealthiest Texans, according to state research.
It's a tough job but I'm sure a group of diverse business leaders is up to the task.

Here's what the governor set the commission's charge to be yesterday, Tax reform panel told task is difficult:
At its first meeting Monday, the governor told the commission to focus on lowering school property taxes, ensuring greater tax fairness and providing a long-term, reliable source of funding for public education.
Democratic candidate for governor Chris Bell is quoted in several of these articles calling the commission "cronyism run amok":
In a related development, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell of Houston criticized the commission as "cronyism run amok" because it is loaded with political contributors who individually or through associates have given Perry $1.4 million over the past five years.
Or put another way, Tax panel gathers for first meeting, brush up on challenges ahead:
A select group of state business leaders got a crash course Monday on the intricacies of state tax policy.
In this one Mr. Sharp tries to lay out his "tax cred" as being a fighter for the middle class because he won't even discuss an income tax, Panel begins work of reworking Texas' tax system:
"An income tax ought to be labeled what it is: a tax on the middle class, the one group of people that doesn't have anybody in this room representing them," Sharp said.
Now I don't know what John Sharp is talking about but the study I've looked at, The Best Choice for a Prosperous Texas, by the Center For Public Policy Priorities (CPPP) states that the bottom 60% of earners would have their overall taxes lowered as a result and only the upper 60% of earners would have there overall taxes raised, although only by a tiny percentage. So I wish he would point us to some kind of study or somehow back up his claim with facts.

Here are the two articles that point to the fact that even though we're not going to discuss an income tax, we are still open minded and thinking outside the box:

From News 8, Commission begins work to lower property taxes:
"We're looking particularly at those six states that don't have income taxes. We're looking at things Texas considered years ago but discarded to see if there is something there we can use, and basically thinking out of the box," Sharp said.
From the DMN, Panel on education, taxes is all business. I love how Mr. Sharp contradicts himself in this one:
"We are open to everything except an income tax," the former state comptroller said, adding that even expansion of gambling in Texas, which failed to pass the Legislature, will be on the table.

...

He also insisted the commission will have an open mind and try to be fair to consumers and businesses alike.
And last but not least Gov. Perry's folly quote, Perry-appointed tax reform panel begins work:
"The idea that the Texas Legislature in the makeup that it is today is going to pass a personal income tax is folly,’’ Perry said.
Is that a threat or a dare?

1 Comments:

At 11/22/2005 6:43 PM, Blogger Amerloc said...

"An income tax ought to be labeled what it is: a tax on the middle class, the one group of people that doesn't have anybody in this room representing them," Sharp said.

So is he saying there are indeed representatives of the working poor on the panel?

""We're looking particularly at those six states that don't have income taxes. We're looking at things Texas considered years ago but discarded to see if there is something there we can use, and basically thinking out of the box," Sharp said."

How is looking at what others did "thinking outside the box"? Sounds more like a willingness to copy than a desire to create.

 

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