Isn’t it funny that the Dallas Morning News keeps trying to raise sales taxes to fund more mass transit boondoggles, and yet they and their cronies in the newspaper industry lobby against efforts to tax their product? They want to let cities hike sales taxes to fund wasteful exercises in utopian urban planning. And now they’ve allegedly got Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst flirting with their side.

In a blog post on the DMN website, Mr. Dewhurst is characterized as being “not opposed” to the plan to allow the pillage of the state’s economy, and that “it’s possible he would support” the effort.

Twice the Legislature’s conservatives have thwarted attempts to do this, and wisely so. Evidence abounds that mass transit projects like Dallas’ “light rail” is an expensive failure. While they like to point out how folks enjoy taking the toy train to the zoo on the weekends and to cultural events at night, the fact remains that congestion has been made worse during rush hours by the diversion of funds from the construction of lane miles. Add to it the very recent examples of waste and poor planning in the use of existing monies by everyone from the Texas Department of Transportation down to the Dallas Area Rapid (hahahaha) Transit, and we see that this proposal would just throw good money after bad.

Lately the tax-and-spenders have trotted out the “give the voters a voice” nonsense. Their plan would let cities hold a once-and-forever election on some obscure date with little publicity to impose higher taxes on everyone else.

The Dallas Morning News says Mr. Dewhurst said he likes this aspect “on the level of principle.”

(What about the long-standing conservative opposition to high taxes and economic devestation caused by rapidly growing government?)

This takes the tool of local control, long held by conservatives as a way to control over-reaching government, and turns it into a weapon against Texas’ taxpayers. But we must remember that local control is only a tool, not a principle. We rightly wouldn’t let any city, even with 100 percent of the voters in support, round up ethnic groups for sophomoric hazing — even if the ethnic groups agreed to it!

Our principles must extend beyond political conveniences.

A majority of voters might make something legal, but it never makes something right.

And giving state sanction to local plunder doesn’t make it right.

But the Dallas Morning News hasn’t yet found a government program that shouldn’t be expanded, a boondoogle that couldn’t use a few more dollars, or a tax that shouldn’t be raised. Excepting, of course, any taxes that might affect their business. And there’s the irony. The newspaper industry in Texas has opposed taxing newspapers by saying it would hurt sales. And yet they argue that raising taxes to fund more mass transit wouldn’t hurt the sales of every other product.

Now, if the DMN wants to raise the price of the product, and send the proceeds on to DART, they should be so allowed. And so should everyone who feels they are under-taxed, or that their favorite programs are under-funded. Simply write a check. And leave everyone else alone.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

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

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