You know the burden of big government taxpayers must carry is heavy when the reliably liberal Austin American Statesman questions the need for it. But that’s precisely what the editorial board did in today’s edition of the paper.

The title the editorial board gave it — “No such thing as ‘minimal’ tax hike” — says it all in a critique of a tax hike planned by the Austin City Council.

Whenever the City of Austin contemplates raising your taxes, city officials rationalize it with the same tired logic: It’s just a penny or two on the tax rate or just a few bucks more a month. We hear them say over and over that it’s a “minimal” increase that won’t significantly raise your tax bills.

That is a spin job and they must stop misleading Austin residents about tax hikes. Austin City Council members should tell residents the whole truth about taxes when they meet Monday to take action on City Manager Marc Ott’s proposed $2.8 billion budget.

The editorial board spells out what the tax hike the city council proposes would go to fund:

Council members also should tell Austin residents that their taxes are being raised largely to finance pay raises, bonuses and pay adjustments to bump city employees’ salaries to market rates. Those expenses are some of the biggest cost-drivers in the budget. For 2012, they total $17.3 million. And if the council approves them, they must be paid for every year.

They take a direct, and correct, shot at what the city council should be doing:

We need council members who are looking out for Austin taxpayers. And that means looking at the whole tax bite before raising taxes.

The editorial ends with a call that should resonate with taxpayers in Austin and around the state: “We urge City Council members to tell the whole truth about taxes. That means acknowledging that no tax hike is minimal.”

Tell the truth? About taxes and the cost of government? Taxers everywhere are cringing.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."