Thursday, October 7, 2010

Texas Voters should NOT get suckered into voting for a Statewide Property Tax

The next Pandora's Box and General "Slush" Fund in the Glorious State of Texas

by Peter Stern

The Texas House and Senate are salivating over a statewide property tax. It is the same legislators year after year and the same business people who are appointed to education commissions who still direct the focus on how to finance public education. They have been unable to resolve the problem for the past decade, why should the public believe them now?

A state property tax removes district control and enables the state to ultimately decide where the money should go and how it is spent. In addition, legislators will have another general or slush fund to maneuver taxpayer dollars to more of their special interests, much as they have done with the gasoline tax revenue, which was designed to build and maintain roadways; however, that money gets used by higher education and the Department of Public Safety.

There are many such slush funds created by the legislature originally designed to work for the community, e.g., the lottery, initiated to finance public education but maneuvered and diverted from it purpose to the whims and special interests of the Governor, legislators and their wealthy special interests.

A statewide property tax once again will open another Pandora's Box. Legislators are drooling over the possibilities of such a tax as it provides them with more tax dollars to toy with. Legislators will place the bill for a statewide property tax before the voters, as a special election item because legislators know very well that history has shown that 80% of such special election items are approved by the public, even though many of those items are shown to have been bogus in resolving the issues they were voted for, e.g., proposals to eliminate frivolous medical lawsuits would lower health care costs (it did not), or the proposal to deregulate the tuition of higher education and electricity costs to reduce costs to consumers (after approval by voters, costs of tuition and electricity significantly increased).

History also has shown that legislators do not have a clue on how to finance public education or how to improve our children's learning outcomes. The voters would be smart NOT to approve a statewide property tax.

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