Robert Duncan, chairman of the Senate’s State Affairs committee, told the Lubbock newspaper: “I think the momentum in the Legislature is more to cut taxes and hold the line rather than have new taxes, even on the local level.”

He was talking about a project of big-spending civic-cheerleaders in Lubbock to cajole the legislature into passing a bill which would allow for a local 1-cent sales tax to fund the long list of civic monuments so desired by the group whose members always seem to wish they lived somewhere else given the amount of comparison to other places they engage in.

A 1-cent sales tax sounds small until you realize that it’s well over a 10 percent tax increase. And the way these things work, once one city had it, most others would push to expand the bill for themselves effectively raising state sales taxes over 12 percent.

It’s interesting to hear the civic-cheerleaders explain the need for yet another tax to fund their favorite projects-of-the-day when there are zero barriers to funding such items already. In Lubbock, the Chamber of Commerce-lead group talked up the new tax as being OK because it would require a vote of the people to pass it – as if that somehow makes more taxes acceptable.

The problem with their argument is that all it takes now to fund projects is a public vote for a bond issue. Additionally, a city’s governing body can set the local property tax rate at whatever level they wish, funding projects directly on a pay-as-you-go-basis; a method that only triggers a public vote if the increase is above a certain level.

No new tax channel is needed for cities as there is no barrier to funding local projects now – other than a majority of citizens not agreeing with their local civic-cheerleaders on everything.

Pratt on Texas

Robert Pratt has been active in Texas Republican politics since the Reagan re-elect in 1984. He has served as Lubbock County Republican chairman, and in 2006 founded the Pratt on Texas radio network, providing the news and commentary of Texas on both radio and podcast. Learn more at