In 2006 The Lege, and Gov. Rick Perry, implemented a tax swap scheme that created a structural budget deficit in Texas. They were able to paper over it until 2011, when the stimulus money ran out and the effects of the great recession showed up in the Texas budget cycle. Instead of raising taxes The Lege used a flawed budget estimate from Comptroller Susan Combs as an excuse to cut public education and the social safety net, among other things to “balance” the budget.
The cuts made in 2011, because of the flawed budget “low-ball” budget estimate, have produced a budget surplus in 2013. Logic would dicate that the best use of the surplus would be to restore money the areas that were cut and for needed investments in infrastructure and water. But the GOP only knows one note, and it’s really quite disturbing, tax cuts. Because we know that it will really be a tax shift, and the GOP shifts taxes from the wealthy to the rest of us.
As McBlogger points out even the bidness community in Texas has realized that the state needs more revenue.
It’s simple… the growth in population has far outstripped the services and infrastructure our taxes can fund, nevermind expand. Sure, revenues expand with that growth, but it will take decades to catch up and we were already far behind.
Hammond has gradually been adjusting his position over the last three years but this is the first time I can remember seeing anything like this stunning (and completely truthful) admission. It’s like Nixon going to China; Reagan embracing Gorbachev; Me passing a bar WITHOUT GOING IN!
Taxes are not inherently wasteful. Spending on slush funds for the Governor or tax abatements for companies that earn billions in Texas ALONE are wasteful uses of taxes. Raising revenue to provide a better quality of life in Texas isn’t wasteful. Spending money on schools, roads and public services (like police and fire) isn’t wasteful. The time has come to move past this ‘all cuts, all the time’ stupidity and realize that we can’t pay for the stuff we want, stuff that will ultimately grow the economy, without taxes.
Thanks, Bill, for finally acknowledging the f*%king sky is f&%king blue. Now, convince the cast of asshats you’ve been supporting for years to do something about it.
This surplus was built on bad budget cuts and an unexpected oil boom. If the end of the boom is preceeded by more tax cuts the next budget shortfall will be horrendous. But maybe that’s what these guys want.
Cut taxes, create a structural deficit, cut education and the safety net which results in a surplus. Rinse and repeat. It’s the GOP way.