According to the Longview News-Journal currently unemployed Texans and those in danger of losing their posts need not worry, the state isn’t cutting benefits. But given the alternatives it might be time to reconsider.

State law requires that our trust fund balance equal 1 percent of all taxable wages. The magic number needed in the fund to meet that requirement is $861 million, by the end of September; the balance could be as low as $414 million. That leaves a state government, already strapped for cash, looking for over $400 million.

To solve the problem the state is being asked to do one if not several things; raise the unemployment replenishment tax rate, issue bonds (accruing debt we will have to pay off latter) or try to secure an interest-free loan from the federal government. None of these alternatives will address the real problem of folks being unemployed. The News-Journal blames Gov. Perry for the short fall; Perry rightly halted payments into the fund on Oct 1 of last year allowing business to retain those much needed funds empowering business owners to keep Texans employed. But payments into the fund were not the problem. What can we point to and blame for our current employment dilemma? It is easy to use the catch all “global financial crisis” but we can be more specific than that. The culprits, not mentioned in the article, are an overly burdensome business tax and ever growing property tax. These two factors are hindering businesses in Texas from maintaining currently levels of operation and making it difficult for more industries to set up shop in the lone star state. We need Texans employed, not on welfare and if businesses are begin taxed to the breaking point we will never be able to secure the jobs needed to keep Texas competing in the global job marketplace. The answer to this problem is not to take more money from our industrious businessmen and women but to let them keep it. If businesses are allowed to keep more of their money we will be rewarded with expanded workforces and greater supply leading to a healthier economy.

Daniel Greer

Daniel Greer is the Director of Innovation for Texas Scorecard.

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