Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Highlights From TTRC Hearing In Midland Yesterday

From My West Texas, Broader business taxes appear likely at hearing. From the article the commissioners that showed up got to hear little of everything.

First up, Speaker Craddick:
State House Speaker Tom Craddick of Midland opened by suggesting the group hold a final hearing to announce its recommendations to the state Legislature after sessions during the next two weeks in San Antonio, Houston, Dallas and Austin.

Craddick said cutting school property taxes while avoiding further burdening the oil and gas industry is an important part of the equation. "It's a big factor not only in my district but also across the state," he said.

Sharp said after the three-hour hearing had that the extra hearing will be conducted. "That was pretty much decided when the speaker suggested it to us," he said.
Then Sen. Seliger:
Commissioners William Blaylock, Hunter Hunt and Ronald Steinhart of Dallas, Howard Wolf of Austin, A.J. Brune of Midland, Robert Rowling of Irving and Victor Leal of Canyon heard state Sen. Kel Seliger of Amarillo say oil and gas "pay five to six times" as much as other businesses.

He said public school education must be revamped because Texas' population will grow from its current 23 million to 40 million by mid-century. Seliger said the severance tax should also be considered for coal, sulfur, uranium and water.
The came casino gambling, doing away with ad valorem taxes and the severance tax. Then came this:
Former Odessa football coach John Wilkins said a state income tax is the obvious solution because 43 of the 50 states already have one and it does not drive their industries away. "The gap between the have-nots and haves is fairly substantial right now," he said.

"I want our state to be better than it has been. An income tax would be the fairest, most progressive way to address this problem."
Of course the fairest form of taxation was shot down as "politically unfeasible". Mostly it was all the things we've heard before and as the title says were headed for a broader business tax and more than likely higher sales taxes.

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