Radicalism rises in comptroller race

Who says radicalism is the sole province of the loony left?

A conservative candidate for Texas comptroller of public accounts has produced what some might call a kooky notion on taxation: get rid of local property taxes and replace them with a steep jump in the sales tax.

http://www.texastribune.org/2014/03/28/big-idea-big-price-tag/

Step forward, Glenn Hegar, and explain how this is fair.

Hegar is the Republican nominee for comptroller. His Democratic opponent, Mike Collier, who seized immediately on Hegar’s idea. Incumbent Susan Combs chose to step down at the end of the year.

Hegar thinks property taxes effectively remove property owners’ rights to their own property because Texans pay a hefty bill to local government entities. In Randall County, where I live, we pay taxes to the city of Amarillo, the county, Amarillo College, the Canyon school system and a local water district. It all adds up — rapidly.

Hegar thinks getting rid of that tax is fair. He’ll have to replace it with some other revenue stream. Given that the Legislature hates income taxes so much — as do most Texans I’ve talked to over the years — he would need to hefty boost in the sales tax.

Is there a more regressive form of taxation that a tax on goods and services? No. Poor people pay the same sales tax as rich people when they purchase, say, fertilizer for their lawn or diapers for their children.

As the Texas Tribune reported: “Dumping property taxes would force the state to more than double its sales taxes or to shed services that voters say they want, like schools, roads, prisons and health and human services. That’s the focus of Collier’s attack. If it sticks, he will have Hegar on the run. If it goes nowhere, he can always try something else.”

It’s not as if Texans don’t already shoulder a significant tax bill, even without a state income tax.

The Tribune stated: “According to the Tax Foundation, it has the 14th-highest state and local property taxes and the 11th-highest state and local sales taxes.”

“If you’re buying a $30,000 car, a 20 percent sales tax is kind of a big deal,” said Dale Craymer, president of the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association in remarks to the Tribune. The state sales tax is 6.25 percent, and most local governments — such as Amarillo — add another two cents.

So, the GOP candidate for comptroller wants to boost our sales tax burden even more?

Gosh, do you think the race for Texas bean-counter in chief is going to get interesting? Hold on. This one could sizzle.

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