U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison got it right Wednesday morning when she told the Texas Association of Business that the state’s new business tax is an “abject failure.” Finally a political big-shot is calling it like taxpayers are seeing it. The Dallas Morning News reports that she said, “We don’t see property taxes going down at all, and the business tax, it’s a corporate income tax. Just make no mistake about it. We’ve got some problems.”

Problems, indeed. Business taxes are always wrong, because they hide the cost of government. People pay taxes through lost profits, lost wages, lost opportunities — the business just writes the checks. Business taxes simply obfuscate the real burden of government. The sales pitch was that enough money would be raised by the business tax to keep property taxes down. And that the tax wouldn’t be painful. And the Easter Bunny lives just east of Dalhart…

The real problem might be that some folks are none too eager for someone, particularly a U.S. Senator considering a gubernatorial run in 2010, to note that the legislature’s tax solution isn’t producing happy results.

After all, property tax burdens have not been reduced. And small businesses are getting hammered.

Hutchison said she hopes the Legislature will address the property tax burden — and apparently the business tax — in the ’09 legislative session.

Sounds a lot Hutchison is drawing a line in the policy sand to see who might cross it. That’s good news for taxpayers, since the list of ‘10 candidates includes the current governor (who says he is going to seek a third term) and the sitting lieutenant governor.

Taxpayers know who to blame, they are now looking for someone who’ll make things right. Hutchison? Perry? Dewhurst? Sure. Taxpayers just want someone who will actually deliver on the tax-cutting, government-limiting goods.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

A graduate of Texas A&M, former newspaper reporter, one-time Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president, and an Eagle Scout, Michael Quinn Sullivan and his wife have three children. He is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. Check out his podcast, “Reflections on Life and Liberty.”