July 28, 2003
It's My Income, Not Yours

[Updates below.]

That's why I oppose income taxes

Texas has been on a century-long quest to mix oil with water: paying for education and reducing the taxes of the "small property owner," all without an income tax.

Burn off that oil! Delete the Texas Constitutional requirement to force people to pay for the schooling of others. Even better, metaphorically speaking, don't take that oil away in the first place; let parents and their offspring earn their educations.
Texas has enacted special taxes on such luxuries as air conditioning and playing cards. It taxes bingo hall rents, boxing receipts and fireworks, and requires every mattress to carry a three-cent "bedding stamp."

...what the fuck...? Why? WHY?! DAMN IT.
Texans have never been all that fond of taxes or, for that matter, of government, which the citizenry has preferred to be more custodial than parental. In 1871, Texans angered by high levies met for four days in Galveston at a Taxpayer's Convention. Opposing taxes has been as much a part of the state's culture as Friday night football, as any supporter of a local school bond issue can attest.

One of the few reasons why I can stomach this climate. It's too bad people have seemingly lost the spine and the philosophical fortitude to stand up to these things...myself included.
Randolph Campbell, a University of North Texas professor who has written a history of Texas, contends the anti-tax faith was founded during Reconstruction, when anti-slavery Republicans briefly took over the state's government. Republicans raised taxes, spawning the Galveston tax revolt. When Reconstruction ended, so did Republican rule. So did high taxes.

"When white conservatives took over, one of the ways they took over was saying these Republicans were taxing you to death and we'll keep taxes low," Campbell said. That became an article of faith for Texas Democrats well into the 20th Century."

As the votes of conservative Democrats were swelled by a rising tide of Texas Republicans, the income tax disappeared from the state's political rhetoric altogether. "When you combine Texas old-style Democratic anti-tax attitude with the Republican anti-tax attitude," Campbell said, "then you get this income tax being the third rail of Texas politics."

It's amazing how times change, isn't it? The only way to find a Democrat these days who doesn't support increased taxation is if you wrap it up in "it'll hurt the Little Guy!" rhetoric. Of course, that Democrat will promptly turn about and kick those who are better off in the shin...
The truth is, Texans have never liked any kind of tax. "I don't have the sense that we're opposed to state taxes because we're afraid they're going to help blacks," Campbell said. "We're set against taxes in this state whether the money would be spent to help either whites or blacks."

Not coincidentally, the state has always teetered close to financial disaster. State deficits were a Texas tradition before the state was a state. "That was the main reason the Republic of Texas didn't last too long -- it was always broke," recounted historian Walter Buenger at Texas A&M University.

One of the reasons the state adopted a constitutional amendment in 1942 requiring a balanced budget was the public's distaste for chronic budget deficits in the 1930s.

"Yeah, here's a way to fix the problem! You see, we'll just make it illegal to run a deficit! Ha, sounds foolproof to me."

"Why don't we just reduce spending?"


"Forget it."

UPDATE(4/9/2004 12:50pm)
Oppose all state income tax plans!

UPDATE(4/15/2004 2:55pm)
It's Income Tax Day. Read it and weep.

Posted by Drizzten at July 28, 2003 07:59 PM

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I concur with you completely. We have to take a stand against those who want to raise taxes.

I live in Lubbock and we have a city government that is so crooked that it cannot manage the money that it has. Now it has determined that it needs more. This is much like the state government.

I would support any grassroots movement to return the control of taxation to the people who are being taxed. The Schools are a laugh. Teachers are paid not on their merit, but rather on their tenure.

I'm open to ideas. What do we do about it.?

Posted by: R Collins on June 30, 2004 11:44 PM

Mr. Collins, before I begin, I must let you know that I don't support taxation for education. I think it is the responsibility of parents and individuals to cover the costs involved. It hurts to say it, but Texans are lucky that we aren't directly taxed at the state level for education. The local control we do have, however, is really in the hands of the politicians and bureaucrats and of course they know what's best for you.

The first thing I'd do is the hardest: let people know that taxation (which is a polite word for coerced theft) is wrong and you shouldn't be forced to pay for the educations of others. (see http://www.drizzten.com/blargchives/000818.html for more explaination and links to other discussions) We can't get the dialogue moving forward in an honest direction until we get this part of it out of the way.

The next thing is to raise awareness of this issue to the politicians and bureaucrats. Let them know their system is immoral and wasteful and will continue to be so as long as it fundamentally remains government-operated and -funded. You'll be dismissed as a greedy, hateful crank but that doesn't matter. If they aren't willing to do anything about it (such as reducing the property tax rate over time or ending it entirely), then you've got to pick among four options: get someone who knows the truth elected to begin to dismantle the system, move somewhere else where the taxes are lower, continue to grit your teeth and bear it, or just stop paying into the county's coffers.

Not easy choices and I haven't done anything beyond the first and the third.

Posted by: Drizz on July 1, 2004 10:38 AM
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