Opposing new taxes and fees seems logical given the current state of the economy, but expecting legislators to use logic might be a bit too much to ask. However, the Texas Budget Compact – and Texas voters – are asking.
Last session, legislators patted themselves on the back for “balancing” the state’s budget without raising taxes (they fail to mention the budget gimmicks used in the process). Now several elected officials, including House Speaker Joe Straus, are on record saying that feat cannot be repeated next session without finding new revenues.
Texas doesn’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem. There’s no need to raise taxes, and certainly not until we fix the budget issues that have plagued us for decades.
In the past 20 years, population has increased 49% and inflation has grown by 66% – a total of 115%. Over that same time period, government spending has risen nearly 300%!
One of the biggest problems we have in Texas is that our legislators don’t always operate in reality. When legislators run out of money, there’s an easy solution: take more. Levying new taxes without fixing out of control spending is not only irresponsible, it’s dishonest.
Along with preventing new taxes or fees, the Texas Budget Compact seeks to make the gross margins tax exemption permanent for small businesses. Texas has historically been a low-tax, business-friendly climate, but higher taxes on small businesses will undoubtedly kill jobs and stifle growth.
The gross margins tax is fundamentally flawed and is assessed unfairly since all businesses are taxed regardless of whether or not they are profitable.
Currently, small businesses that make up to one million dollars per year are exempt from the gross margins tax.
Unfortunately, this exemption has to be renewed every legislative session. During previous sessions, several conservative legislators tried to make the exemption permanent, including Jodie Laubenberg, Phil King and Ken Paxton, but their efforts were thwarted in the Straus-friendly Ways & Means Committee.
Rather than playing political games and wasting time each session, legislators need to take the lead and make the small business tax exemption permanent while not raising taxes.
Many elected officials in Austin have already pledged their public support of the Texas Budget Compact, while others continue to drag their feet and refuse to sign on, claiming new revenues are the only way forward.
To show your support, visit TXBudgetCompact.com. We’ll deliver a letter to your legislator on your behalf for each plank of the compact you support.