Sunday, February 12, 2006

Have You Ever Seen A Dog Chase It's Tail?

That's what I thought about when I read today's AAS article on the TTRC, Tax panel on uncharted course. By now we all know that Gov. Perry has appointed his new (again) best friend to head his crony-commission full of Michael "Heckuva Job Brownie" Brown's to, ahem, reform the tax structure in Texas. Sounds good, but all they appear to be doing is offering up all the same "business reform" proposals we've all seen in the previous Republican lead, business lobby owned, legislatures that have been shot down before. But with John Sharp leading this one he's gotten all the good 'ol boys around a table, given 'em a stern talkin' to and now they say, "Well, OK, you got us. We've be screwin' the school children of Texas for too long and now, good buddy, we're ready to start payin' our fair share".
"Huge sections of the business community have privately signed on," Sharp said recently over coffee at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin. "What they're telling me is that it has been a great ride for the last 15 years, but it is about time to pay in."
Right. Must be nice to sit around a five-star hotel with the governor's best friend, sippin' coffee and talkin' taxes. While the crony-commission has been trying to find the best way to make it look like businesses in Texas are going to start paying taxes, regular ol' people have been going to these meetings and giving their ideas and they just feel like what's going on is, for lack of a better phrase, business as usual:
When the Texas Tax Reform Commission came to Laredo on Jan. 26, Rey Ayala thought he'd help out by pitching a few ideas of his own, including a little property tax relief for his community.

Ayala, a former teacher who owns and leases properties in Laredo, came away from the public hearing not only wondering whether the commission really had heard him but also doubting whether it has any chance at all of helping Texas out of its tax and school finance fix.

[...]

Residents such as Ayala have taken careful note that the hearings feature many of the same lobbyists who are fixtures outside the second-floor House and Senate chambers when the Legislature is in session.

"I am just not very confident," Ayala said in a telephone interview last week. "What the Legislature and the governor are doing right now is patching up a flat tire just to get it going, and that's not going to work. I don't think these elected officials in Austin listen to the average guy. They listen to the corporate interests."
Why then are our tax dollars being wasted to take a commission around the state to let the same people testify that testify/lobby the legislature every session? They're just getting a three month head start. How are we supposed to get new ideas when it's the same ol' money, er..I mean, people's ideas? They're apparently ignoring what the regular people say that show up at these meetings to testify:
The overwhelming business bent of the commission's membership worries Susan Barrick, a Democratic candidate for Lubbock county judge. She thought her call for an income tax at the commission's Lubbock meeting Jan. 23 was swamped by the self-interest of business.

"I'm worried that the commission is being pushed by time, and rather than being measured, they'll come forward with something because they have to," Barrick said.
I'll bet if she was the CEO of an oil company they'd listen to her! And that's exactly the problem. Just chasing around the state, with their tale of lower taxes, trying to make it look good for the governor in an election year. While the people of Texas wait for their schools to be fixed. It's funny at first, watching a dog chase it's tail. After a few times around though you start to think how lucky you are that you aren't that stupid.

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