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Bad Tax Ideas Never Go Away

Whack A MoleFighting tax-and-spendoholics is like playing Wack-A-Mole at the arcade. You knock them down, only to find they pop right back up. The lesson? We have to move faster and hit harder.

Last legislative session, taxpayers were successful in stopping tax-and-spendoholics from increasing the taxes to fund further boondoggle spending on more light-rail and other mass transit pork (the only thing “mass” is the cost – mass transit fails to actually relieve congestion, dollar for dollar). But, hey, those trains are fun at Disney World…

Road Taxes Should Fund Roads? What A Crazy Idea…

Sen. John CaronaState Sen. John Carona says in today’s Dallas Morning News that Texas must “stop the diversion of gas tax funds for other uses.” That’s welcome news. While the state’s constitution currently requires transportation funds to be used for transportation expenses, “transportation” is a constantly-expending term.

According to the Morning News, almost a third of Texas’ gasoline tax revenues for transportation have been “diverted” away from true transportation projects.

Privatization Serves Taxpayers Even When Contractors Fail

Advocates of big government rarely let facts get in the way of their pursuit of growing budgets. Such is the case with Waco Tribune-Herald editor John Young, whose weekly column is very often devoted to the worship of government (of the activist variety) and the damnation of conservative, free market principles.

Property Tax Relief… For Government Employees

The headline in today's Houston Chronicle says it all: City union asks for property tax relief. My heart leapt for joy: Bureaucrats are now joining the call for tax relief!

But then I read the article… They don't want property tax relief for all taxpayers, only for government employees. Acting in true-to-bureaucratic form, the city employee union there is looking for a new taxpayer-funded program that would pay the property taxes of city employees. The audacity almost makes the head spin.

Ineffective Treatment?

The Houston Chronicle reported over the weekend that medical professionals are skeptical that the legislature's new $3 billion "cancer fund" will accomplish much more than spend $3 billion of the taxpayers' money.

But, don't worry, it was created with the best of intentions… State Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston), summed it up nicely in her quote to the Chronicle that "she'd ‘like to sit back and tell my grandchildren I had something to do with the cure.' "

Deadweight, and Dead Weight

An elected official (a Republican, no less) told me yesterday he doesn't mind paying taxes because it is "the price of freedom." His doe-eyed statement was wrong on a great many levels, practical and philosophical. First and foremost, freedom's price has been paid — again and again — by the blood of patriots on battlefields near and far, not collected by revenue agents.
 

Tainted Performance Measures at the Department of Agriculture

Today, the State Auditor released a report certifying that the Department of Agriculture met only 60 percent (3 of 5 with one of the three certified with qualification) of its performance measures. That's the same Department of Agriculture that, as noted in this post , earlier this month sponsored a swanky gourmet dinner in Austin.

Fiscal Irresponsibility At TEA?

A report issued by the Office of the Inspector General at the Texas Education Agency has shed light on a contracting process ripe for fraud and abuse.

It is alleged that individuals received large subcontracts from one of the Education Service Centers, divisions of state government, to perform tasks originally contracted by the TEA. These individuals had personal ties to high-ranking appointees within the TEA, creating for some the appearance of impropriety.

Cutting Fat With Good Feelings

 From the "Oh, What a Big Surprise Department," comes news that spending billions of taxpayer dollars on "nutrition education" has been a failure.

The Associated Press article makes it clear that about the only thing accomplished was making kids feel good about singing and dancing veggies. Oh, goody. The head of the federal program says, "We're finding success in things in which we have been able to measure, which are more related to knowledge and skill. It is more difficult for us to identify success in changing children's eating patterns."