The state’s ‘third rail’

Has state Rep. Lon Burnam grown tired of serving in the Texas Legislature?

The Fort Worth Democrat has filed a bill calling for a state income tax on individuals or families earning more than $100,000 annually.

What? A state income tax? In Texas, where lawmakers once determined that the only way to enact such a thing is to amend the Texas Constitution, which requires a popular vote? His rationale is that the Texas tax system is archaic and doesn’t fund education, public health or transportation adequately. He’s right. Any dramatic reform of the state’s tax system needs to include the income tax — but it likely won’t happen, given Texans’ longheld antipathy toward a personal state income tax. Just as Social Security is the “third rail” (touch it and you die) on Capitol Hill, the state income tax plays a similar role in Austin.

Give the man credit at least for speaking out before he declares his intention to leave office. Maybe the other shoe will drop soon. Then again, maybe not.

Two Democratic lieutenant governors tried in the 1980s and 1990s to move the income tax debate forward. Bill Hobby tried it first, then backed off it, even though he had announced his plans to retire. Then came the usually fearless Bob Bullock. He, too, floated the income tax idea, only to scurry away from it.

Now comes Rep. Burnam, who’s already filed a resolution to impeach the Republican presiding judge of the state Criminal Court of Appeals.

There must be something in the water in Cowtown.

0 thoughts on “The state’s ‘third rail’”

  1. Thomas Friedman’s once wrote an article by the title of Palin’s Kind of Patriotism. He argued that paying taxes is patriotic. My immediate response to his argument is that initiating an unjust war with taxes is unpatriotic. Likewise, expecting government to take money from others for your benefit is unpatriotic. Taking the fruit of someones labor is unpatriotic. The true patriot is willing to contribute his talents for the betterment of society. The distribution of labor is the only means to productivity in society and in order for productivity to be accomplished then people in a society have to be willing to labor rather than selfishly expect others money. But I don’t advocate leaving people on the streets who have become dependent on the system. Rather, I advocate gradually abolishing the welfare state and returning it to the private sector. When government doesn’t coercively take money for mandatory charity then people are more willing to give money (more than what government can coerce out of the people) voluntarily.The income tax should be abolished. First of all, there is no law mandating that an income tax be paid in the first place. Also, the 16th amendment was not legally ratified by 3/4’s of the states. Aside from the legality of the income tax a moral argument can be made against it. Simply put, the income tax allows government to maintain our 700 bases in 130 countries. America has been able to engage in endless war since the income tax was instituted in 1913. If you are wondering how America could fund societal necessities without an income tax you might be surprised that the income tax only accounts for 40% of the current government revenue. But America could save a trillion dollars a year immediately if we brought all the troops home from all over the earth. This money could go to paying for the welfare system which would easily cover that cost. We could start bringing down the national debt immediately because without an income tax spending would have to be cut. The size of government has increased 10 fold since the income tax was instituted. I also point out that if the income tax were abolished the federal government would still have the same revenue that it had in 1997. The size of government wasn’t all that bad then. In addition, another point that has some merit to it it that America flourished more than 100 years without an income tax!Ultimately, those who believe in socialism will reject my argument because socialism can not be achieved without a direct tax such as the income tax. I think those who speak so fondly of the socialist model should practice their own socialism and distribute their own wealth to those who are in need.

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