Texas GOP tax talk getting louder

Posted in 82nd Legislature, Around The State, Bad Government Republicans, Taxes, The Budget at 1:12 pm by wcnews

Republicans in Texas are starting to ease their way into talking about raising taxes. Here’s GOP House Speaker Joe Straus:

House Speaker Joe Straus expressed serious doubt today about the prospect of revising the state’s main business tax during the current legislative session.

“I don’t think in the next 54 days there’s much chance of that,” Straus said during an appearance at the University of Texas.

“It’s not something you want to do hastily. It’s something that has to be thoughtfully done.”

Still, the speaker didn’t entirely dismiss the possibility of revising the tax during the current session. He said he is awaiting Senate action on the budget. The House passed its version on Sunday.

Here’s what the GOP Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee Harvey Hilderbran, where a tax bill must originate, had to say.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Harvey Hilderbran, R-Kerrville, said he is open to looking at the business tax, but noted it is late in the session. He said he had planned a comprehensive study on the business tax after the session ends.

“We don’t have that much time in the session. We’ve got some very difficult challenges, and the political climate’s probably — with the short period of time we have, we probably don’t have the time to do the education of the membership,” Hilderbran said.

There’s not enough time left for a tax increase in the regular session, is what they’re trying to say. Which would lead us to conclude that it’s likely we will need at lease one special session to resolve the budget. They need more time, and maybe a ‘looming deadline”, to bring enough in the GOP around.

Also state Sen. Steve Ogden, who has been out front on this, is now getting crap from under taxed corporate lobbyists. The way the lobbyist talks down to Sen. Ogden it sounds like they believe they run the state.

But a veteran business lobbyist, who’d testified against an Ogden bill not long before the senator sounded off, said it isn’t fair to label the business lobby as obstructionist on the question of sound tax policy.

“Yesterday, Senator Ogden was feeling a little bit beat down,” said Bill Allaway, senior adviser to the business-backed Texas Taxpayers and Research Association. “He got voted down two or three times on the Senate floor and then people didn’t stand up and salute his [tax abatement limitation] bill [in committee]. He was feeling a little down at that point.”


Allaway, though, said business groups are willing to discuss how the state should raise money for “legitimate needs.” He continued, “Part of the problem is that the Legislature has systematically spent more money than it had for the last few years … digging a deeper and deeper hole.” [Emphasis added]

“I’m not quite sure what he wants the business community to do that it hasn’t done — to volunteer to bail the state out?” Allaway said, referring to Ogden. “… The guy’s gotta lot of strain on his shoulders. And I’m not sure that he’s getting all that much help from his colleagues.”

Most Texans believe we elect legislators to determine “legitimate needs”, not corporate lobbyists. The corporate lobbyists are telling Ogden what they’re willing to allow their taxes to be raised to pay for. That’s incredible, the audacity these lobbyists have! They have a reason to be so bold, there hasn’t been a an elected leader in Texas willing to challenge them in decades.

Even GOP House Appropriations Chair Jim Pitts is getting into the tax debate, however gingerly.

The House’s chief budget writer said Tuesday that representatives may be open to adding $5 billion of spending to the budget they just passed.

Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, said Texans “are waking up” to the magnitude of proposed cuts to public schools, nursing homes and other programs.

He said unidentified freshman Republicans, who entered the session saying “we came here to cut,” have privately told him this week that they’d like to undo or ease certain spending reductions. [Empahsis added]

Even some tea partiers are getting cold feet. Looks like some of them would like another term after all.

Of course, where Perry fits into all of this is anyone’s guess and that’s the way he wants it. He’s on the record saying he won’t sign, notice he didn’t say he would veto, a budget that uses the RDF. WE should assume he’d have the same answer regarding higher taxes.

But few, if any of them, are on record yet regarding the $32 billion elephant in the room. The Show goes on.

1 Comment »

  1. Eye on Williamson » Seed Corn & Koch money said,

    May 6, 2011 at 9:56 am

    [...] a month ago state Sen. Steve Ogden (R-Bryan), chair of the Senate Finance Committee, seemed pretty much in agreement that not only would some of the Economic Stabilization Fund, aka Rainy Day Fund, need to be used to [...]

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