Monday, May 10, 2010

Taxes, Texas

It is difficult not to see tax problems in Texas as local problems, because it was intentionally set-up to appear as such. The County Tax Assessor/Collector’s office has the primary responsibility for determining, collecting and distributing property taxes. Sales taxes are collected at the time of purchase, by the vendor selling a taxable item.

The vast majority of that tax money is bound for state coffers. The state of TX does not have its own revenue stream, and is hiding behind local collection agents when the state’s revenue problems are discussed.

This is a shameful fact that will be largely avoided by the state’s incumbent elected officials attempting to get re-elected this year. Why? It’s because, taxes (talk or action) are not the stuff of successful political campaigns.

Unfortunately, the recent economic turmoil, combined with the structural budget deficit (created intentionally by a special session of the legislature in 2006), will cause state coffers to come up well shy of the funds needed to continue to pay for even the reduced, in the 2003 legislative session, activities of the state’s agencies.

I have made suggestions to rectify the state’s problems with its indirect, and intentionally insufficient, funding in my blog post "Taxation suggestions for Texas" published in January, 2009.

TX: State of the State!

A quick and disturbing brief on the state of the state of Texas, containing excerpts from state Senator Eliot Shapleigh’s web site and Dr. James Moore’s “What’s Left of Texas” published on The Huffington Post. Links to both sites are listed below.

Eliot Shapleigh, a state senator from El Paso, compiles a report each legislative session called "Texas on the Brink." Skimming it will provide more than enough data to show just how functional the Republican leadership of this state has been since 1994. Here are a few embarrassing tidbits about Texas that Rick Perry doesn't want the rest of the nation to know so he can start planning his little fantasy of national politics.

1) 49th in teacher pay
2) 1st in the percentage of people over 25 without a high school diploma
3) 41st in high school graduation rate
4) 46th in SAT scores
5) 1st in percentage of uninsured children
6) 1st in percentage of population uninsured
7) 1st in percentage of non-elderly uninsured
8) 3rd in percentage of people living below the poverty level
9) 49th in average Women Infant and Children benefit payments
10) 1st in teenage birth rate
11) 50th in average credit scores for loan applicants
12) 1st in air pollution emissions
13) 1st in volume of volatile organic compounds released into the air
14) 1st in amount of toxic chemicals released into water
15) 1st in amount of recognized cancer-causing carcinogens released into air
16) 1st in amount of carbon dioxide emissions
17) 50th in homeowners' insurance affordability
18) 50th in percentage of voting age population that votes
19) 1st in annual number of executions

Shapleigh's little book of horrors comes fully footnoted to avoid being attacked by partisans. His staff gathers data from the Census Bureau and Texas government agencies.

Stephen M. Wyman

Candidate: State Senate, district 5

The candidate’s, my, blog:

The candidate’s website: