Crooked As A Barrel Of Snakes

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:59 am by wcnews

Call me crazy, and I know many will, but ever since John Sharp was appointed to head Gov. Perry’s crony commission I’ve been skeptical. There was just something about a corporate tax man being appointed to head a commission of business men to jigger a new business tax. You know the whole “fox guarding the hen house thing”. Or maybe the fox building the hen house, so he knows exactly where the hens will be and then can just scoop ‘em up. Anyway, it just didn’t seem right. Friends, enemies and now friends again, coming together in a bipartisan way to solve the age old problem of Texas. Too altruistic for me, I’m too cynical and un-trusting, I guess. Ever since Sharp’s last run I knew he was not what I would call my kind of Democrat. He ran on what I called a I’m a Republican with a D after my name platform.
I bring all this up because of the reports this week about how Gov. Perry’s former political operatives are setting a nonprofit/corporate funded group, Texans for Taxpayer Relief (notice the Orwellian name), to coordinate the ads and advocate for the changes.

The same day, Perry and Sharp joined Dave Carney, Perry’s media adviser, and lobbyists to discuss a possible $6 million campaign involving TV ads targeted at the state’s four biggest media markets, plus radio spots possibly targeted at the districts of resistant legislators. AT&T, which had a representative there, is weighing a $100,000 donation.

I’m no business man, but I’m sure AT&T wouldn’t put $100,000 into something unless they thought they were going to get a good return on their money. That also goes for all the other corporations, businesses and private citizens that will give to this campaign. This is another, in a long line, of actions by Republicans to blur the line between government and corporations. But as Chris Bell and OTG are pointing out this is an attempt by the governor to get corporations to foot the bill to get “his” message across. Blurring the line between his tax-swap campaign and his gubernatorial campaign. In essence corporate campaign donations, which are illegal in Texas. And as Off The Kuff points out, it’s not like the Ethics Commission will do anything about it:

I’m sure the law is on Rick Perry’s side - not that the toothless Texas Ethics Commission would do anything about it otherwise - but c’mon. Of course this is political. Perry needs the support of the Legislature, and after this raucus primary season, with Carolyn Boyle and the Texas Parent PAC the newest kingmakers in town, he needs to demonstrate to any waverers that this plan is what the people want. He’s not strong enough to twist arms, so he needs to make a sale to the public. That’s what this is, plain and simple.

I was listening to the hearing earlier this week in the House Ways and Means Committee and it was amazing the kid gloves that were used, by Mr. Sharp and the two commission members that were with him, not to offend corporations or businesses. There was not the same reverence given to the people of Texas, that’s for sure. This is the same things that went on throughout the whole hearing process. (You can see the archives at the previous blog address if you don’t believe me). The people would testify and mention some great ideas, yes even a state income tax was mentioned at almost every hearing, but those folks were tossed aside like someone who’d seen a UFO.

You can believe what you will but to me this was the plan all along. I would imagine the reason the corporate and business lobbies are on board is because of obvious reasons, it will not hurt or will benefit their bottom lines. Otherwise they would not only NOT be involved in donating to this new “non-profit” they would be joining the tobacco companies in trying to kill the governor’s plan. Corporations, in this day and age, do not do things for the benefit of Texas or the people of Texas.

The best quote in all of this is here:

“You’ve got Perry in the middle of this thing,” (Austin lawyer Chris) Feldman said. “It looks about as crooked as a barrel of snakes.”


For more on the crony commission plan check out the CPPP’s policy page on it.

For more on the unholy alliance between corporations and government see this post from David Sirota. And don’t forget go see him next weekend.

And last, see what the Texas State Employees Union has to say about the latest Republican privatizations scam involving the HHS call centers.


  1. Capitol Annex » From The Blogs: Friday, April 14, 2006 said,

    April 14, 2006 at 8:30 am

    […] Eye on Williamson has a nice critical look at the TTRC/Sharp/Perry commission and its proposals. […]

  2. sstatetaxx said,

    April 16, 2006 at 9:08 pm

    The franchise tax must be revamped is because of loopholes the Democrats created. In 1996, the House allowed a series of changes to the franchise tax (i.e., loopholes) that made this tax elective at best. At that time, the Democrat leadership of the Legislature gave business the right to avoid the franchise tax at will. The Sharp Plan will remedy their failure.

    Before anyone offers a state personal income tax as a solution to our current funding problem, you should know that personal income tax, without a complementary franchise tax, would only tax Texas residents.

    In fact, under tax shift that included a personal income tax without a business franchise tax, Texans would pay virtually of the tax collected. We would pay

    1. All of the sales and use tax – Because a person must receive or use the taxable good or service in Texas to be subject to Texas sales and use tax.
    2. All of the property tax – Because only Texas property owners pay property tax.
    3. All of the income tax – Because a person (not a corporation) must earn income in Texas to be subject to a state personal income tax.

    Thus, when someone advocates a personal income tax, the first question you should ask is “How do out state business get taxed under this plan?” I do not want to pay personal income tax when out of state corporation can make hundreds of millions of dollars selling to Texas without paying anything to educate them. Also, ask the people from Phillip Morris, Inc. how much franchise tax PMI pays. I believe you will be surprised at how little business tax they pay..

  3. wcnews said,

    April 17, 2006 at 9:49 am

    Your blaming the Democrats for the 1996 problem not entirely true. While they share the blame remember who was governor then, Bush, and he signed the bill. He wasn’t then still isn’t much for vetoing legislation. He needed this legislation for his future endeavors. An income tax as I have always understood it would have to be implemented to lower property taxes and would not change the business tax, as it stands or if it was changed. The point of an income tax, as stated in Texas law, if implemented has to go directly to lowering property taxes and the money raised has to go to schools. To learn more about how an income tax could work, go to www.cppp.org and read the Texas Trilogy. An income tax would be part of an overall revised tax structure working with sales, business and other taxes to make taxes fairer in Texas.

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