Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Republicans: No New Taxes but more Tax Revenue!

Two years ago, every single U.S. state underwent a budget deficit, whether large or small, and Texas was no exception. California's was $40 billion, so luckily Texas's was a mere $9.9 billion...

The slogan was "No New Taxes," and the Lege erased the budget deficit by hacking away at state services. Now it's a different tune. Sort of. Now it's trying increase current taxes (20 cent gasoline tax, $1 cigarette tax, etc.) but still no new taxes. The San Antonio Express-News has an article on how lawmakers expect to make it through the session:

Some lawmakers were skeptical that enough money can be found in savings and fees.

"It's very difficult," said Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio, an Appropriations member, noting lawmakers must look at the effect of cuts or spending shifts.

"We're going to have to do it by raising additional revenue," she concluded. "It goes back to, 'Which tax do you like best?'"

Among those proposals included in the article are:

  • levying a "nursing home quality assurance fee" of 6 percent of gross receipts, which would bring in $452.5 million;
  • increasing the number of prison inmates eligible for medically recommended intensive supervision, or parole of offenders who are no longer considered a threat, which would save $1.2 million;
  • eliminating a "teaching experience supplement" for higher education, which would save $70.5 million.

  • "I'm going to say that some of those [proposals] will be proposed to the full Legislature," [Appropriations Chair Jim] Pitts said. "All of them, or most of them, I wouldn't say that."

    This ought to be fun.


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