With the state’s new business tax expected to bring in billions of extra dollars, some in Austin are salivating over the prospect of spending all that cash. Not so fast, writes the president of the Texas Association of Business this week. Former state representative Bill Hammond says that “when the actual tax revenue exceeds what lawmakers predicted in the state budget, we have to question if the state should keep the extra dollars to fund frivolous government projects or if the money should be given back to businesses.” His answer: “give it back.”
Of course, Empower Texans and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility have been against the business tax since its inception. Businesses don’t pay taxes, they remit them. People pay the taxes — through lost profits, reduced wages, higher costs and diminished economic freedom. Business taxes just hide the cost of government.
But Mr. Hammond and TAB are absolutely right in their thinking that if the business tax truly does produce more than was originally anticipated, that surplus should be given back. The same can be said for almost an tax or fee — and should be said for government, in general. It’s our money, and should be returned, not hoarded or spent.