President Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, once said, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” Some Texas Democrats appear to be taking a page from his playbook, and are wanting to use the looming budget debate to enact a state income tax.

The Legislature is projected to face an $11 to $18 billion budget shortfall – depending who you ask – when they convene next January. Most families and businesses tend to cut back during tough economic times, but liberal lawmakers seem to always look for opportunities to bring in new revenue streams, if not outright expand the size and scope of government.

With the option of legalizing casino gambling to fill the current shortfall apparently stifled, the grow government-types are looking at other avenues to dig into your wallet. Rather than reduce wasteful spending, state Rep. Lon Burnam (D-Fort Worth) says the state should “tax all excessive income” to close the projected shortfall.

Now Mr. Burnam says the excessive income tax should only apply to those making over $100,000… for now. Even President Obama didn’t go that low, when he said he’d only go after those making $250,000 with a federal tax increase. It’s painfully clear the President’s promise has not been kept, and it’s equally doubtful the Cowtown liberal, or his big spending legislative colleagues and successors, would hold to a $100,000 tax floor.

While voters would ultimately have to approve such a scheme, it seems ridiculous a legislator would want to jeopardize our economic competitiveness and rebounding economy at a time when we’re the envy of the nation. Particularly when there are more fiscally responsible ways to keep the budget balanced without new taxes. But then again, he probably doesn’t want to let the budget crisis go to waste.

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