Texas

Texas Voters Ban State Income Taxes. Again.

Some 76 percent of Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment that prohibits the state from imposing any income tax.

|

Texas, a state so nice they banned income taxes twice.

On Tuesday, some 76 percent of voters in the state approved Prop 4, a constitutional amendment that prohibits the imposition of a state income tax.

The immediate practical impact of the vote is slight, given that Texas currently has no income tax, and the state constitution had already made passing one a difficult endeavor. The success of Prop. 4 nevertheless highlights the bipartisan political appeal of Texas' long refusal to take a cut of people's paychecks.

"THANK YOU TEXANS!!!! Future generations of Texans will thank you too," tweeted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, after the vote. "Keep Government out of your pocketbook."

Prior to the vote, Abbott had tweeted a video of himself tearing up a California state income tax return form. "I never want to see one of these in the great state of Texas," he says to the camera.

This is not the first time Texas has passed strict constitutional limits on the state's ability to tax income. In 1993, voters approved an amendment that required any income tax to be approved by both the state legislature and voters through a statewide referendum. Any revenue generated by an income tax had to be dedicated to education funding.

That wasn't enough for some state legislators, however.

At the end of last year, Rep. Jeff Leach (R–Plano) introduced HJR 38, which would refer the question of a constitutional prohibition on an income tax to voters. Because Leach's measure would amend the state constitution, it required two-thirds supermajorities—or support from some Democrats—in both the House and Senate, which it got.

"My constituents don't want a state income tax. And that's what I'm here to do is represent them," said one Democratic lawmaker when asked by the Dallas Morning News why she voted with Republicans to put HJR 38 (later to become Prop 4) on the ballot.

A full two-thirds of the Texas legislature is now required to repeal the state's income tax prohibition. Actually imposing an income tax would require additional legislation.

The lack of a state income tax is key to Texas' economic competitiveness, says Janelle Cammenga, a policy analyst with the Tax Foundation, a D.C.-based think tank.

"Income taxes are more economically harmful than consumption taxes because they capture both present and future income, and this discourages investment," she tells Reason in an email, writing that "the absence of an income tax is the most competitive part of Texas's tax code."

Texas is one of seven states to opt out of levying an income tax. The Tax Foundation rates Texas 13th on its state business tax climate index. The Cato Institute's "Freedom in the 50 States" project ranks Texas as the seventh most free state on fiscal matters.

In addition to being good policy, the absence of an income tax has proven pretty popular, says Cammenga.

"Some states have better alternatives to income taxes than others, but when a state eliminates its income tax, most voters like to keep it that way," she says. "That's true in red states like Texas and blue states like Washington."

NEXT: Sandworm and the GRU's global intifada

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. And then when the courts overturn this because the legislature needs mo’ money Reason will have 35 Volokh articles explaining to us why that’s A-OK.

    1. The nerds over at Volokh have to get invited to the cool parties somehow.

    2. Damn dirty commies. They pretend to be against income tax, but thankfully you and I know the real truth.

      1. To be clear, Reason has never once including this piece advocated against an income tax per se. In fact they vociferously opposed Herman Cain’s reform plan and have also dismissed other Fair Tax proposals. Reason has advocated for a national VAT and carbon taxes to supplement the existing federal income tax. Conveniently for you, your head is permanently stuffed up your ass so you can easily ignore facts and substitute in their place comforting delusions.

        1. reason doesn’t even consider the Controlled Substances Act to be unconstitutional and thereby a quick way to make all drug legal.

          reason would rather advocate minor state legalization with heavy regulation and taxation as the solution to the War on Drugs.

          1. I haven’t seen an article discussing the constitutionality of the CSA, but I have a feeling that Jacob “All Drugs Should Be Legal” Sullum would agree with your take.

            That being said, between a repeal of the CSA and the (imperfect) legalization of certain drugs in certain states, which strategy has made more progress against the War on Drugs?

            1. I include it in almost every article that any reason staff writes about drugs.

              Obviously this current attempt to partially legalize weed is not working. Nobody even discusses repealing the Controlled Substances Act, so who knows which works better. Nothing but drug marijuana is partially legal and in only about half of the states. Not very good progress, since all drugs were legal less than 50 years ago.

              1. It appears that many writers at reason are against cutting federal power and repealing the Controlled Substances Act would certainly be an example of that.

                1. Obviously this current attempt to partially legalize weed is not working.

                  How do you figure? What percent of the US population lives in a state where recreational marijuana is legal? How does that compare with 10 years ago? 20? 30?

                  Nobody even discusses repealing the Controlled Substances Act, so who knows which works better.

                  Psst…you just answered your own question. People don’t discuss repealing the CSA because most people aren’t interested in legalizing heroin. That’s a shame, but it’s the world that we live in. Meanwhile, people are interested in legalizing marijuana on the state level and even decriminalizing mushrooms in certain municipalities. You can applaud and encourage those efforts even while wishing that the CSA would be repealed.

                  It appears that many writers at reason are against cutting federal power

                  I’m trying to be nice here, but statements like this make it very clear that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Cutting federal power is a major theme of the pieces that Reason publishes, and has been for decades. It took me all of two seconds to find a piece discussing exactly that point, published less than a week ago.

                  https://reason.com/2019/11/02/impeachment-is-both-the-cause-and-the-effect-of-a-too-powerful-presidency/

                  And again, I haven’t listened to it yet, but you should check out the latest Soho Debate with Jacob Sullum arguing in favor of adults being able to consume whatever drugs they want. If you can come away from that thinking that Reason has a pro-CSA position, then I just don’t know what to tell you.

                2. Poor Big Nose’s reason links fell off.

                  As I said, weed and all drugs were legal 50 years ago. That is better than now.

                  reason is the media. Propagandists really. reason writes at least a few articles a month about drugs and non that I have ever seen on here ever mention repealing the Controlled Substances Act. I have only been here less than a decade though.

                  Feel free to be as mean or nice as you want. It does not matter because you are not convincing. Keep backing up reason staff. It does wonders for your credibility around here.

                  1. The link is right in the comment, dude.

                    Yes, there were fewer laws against drugs 50 years ago before the CSA was passed. What’s your point? It’s not going to be repealed anytime soon. You prefer the way things were even 10 years ago to how they are now?

                    You know what, I tried to honestly explain things to you, which is more than you deserve. If you want to continue being a embarrassing yourself, that’s entirely your right. Enjoy the rest of your evening.

                  2. Poor bignose.

                    He spends the time to break his comment down and still cant understand why citations are needed for his sloppy claims.

                    Oh well. Another sock bites the dust.

              2. “Not very good progress, since all drugs were legal less than 50 years ago.”

                Where? Not in the USA. The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 only required honest labeling, but national bans on heroin and cocaine soon followed. Herbert Hoover was working on treaties to extend the American bans internationally (and also trying to sneak in a ban on marijuana via treaties) ban trade in these in other drugs (including marijuana) before he became President in 1929. Marijuana was banned nationally in 1937, 82 years ago. And that’s just the federal level; many of the states had banned these drugs long before.

        2. So Reason writes articles about how the income tax is awful because…they love it so much? Interesting take.

          Searching ‘income tax’ on Reason gives you about 20 results including this article (the one where the author paints the anti-income tax amendment as a victory), a good one by Veronique De Rugy about how awful the income tax is, and a glowing RIP for Irwin Schiff (who argued that the income tax is illegitimate).

          But you’re right, I don’t recall offhand an article explicitly stating income tax should be eliminated. I guess they wrongly assumed that you could put two and two together.

          1. This is classic conspiracy theorists’ sociology. They see conspiracies and double agents everywhere, and they eventually start to cannibalize.

          2. I was going to write something along these lines. Well said. There are plenty of reasons to be critical of Reason. Their stance on the income tax is not one and neither is their stance on drug legalization.

            1. The writers at Reason vary in quality. Some are great, particularly on certain subjects (Doherty on gun control comes to mind). Some are awful, particularly on certain subjects (Dalmia on immigration). But the idea that Reason is run by a cabal of crypto-socialists is just silly.

              1. “I’m a liberal.”
                -Matt Welch

                One of the very few completely honest things the guy has said in the last 15 years.

                Well, that, and when he admitted on Twitter that he would wishes he could massacre everyone who disagrees with him.

                1. “I’m a libertarian.”
                  -Also Matt Welch, on many, many more occasions.

                  And yes, everyone knows that you think he’s an actual Maoist because he made a stupid joke on Twitter. Why you’d want to show that off is anybody’s guess.

                2. Bignose is funny. He comments above how backing up reason harms ones street cred and the backs up hack reason writers in the very next comments.

                  reason has no shame.

        3. Reason has never once including this piece advocated against an income tax per se.

          They’ve always reported on any new or increased income tax as bad and any repealed or decreased income tax as good. What kind of per se do you need?

          In fact they vociferously opposed Herman Cain’s reform plan and have also dismissed other Fair Tax proposals.

          Because it would introduce a national sales tax. You want a national sales tax?

          Reason has advocated for a national VAT

          Link?

          reason doesn’t even consider the Controlled Substances Act to be unconstitutional

          Link?

        4. The FAIR tax would be the biggest mistake ever. 22 percent sales taxes would cripple the economy, and they would be closer to 40 percent when the Democrats get their hands on it, then reinstate the income tax on the “rich”.

    3. Note to foreign readers: Looter parties, alarmed by the sigmoid curve growth of LP vote share, buy subscriptions so their loudmouths with green teeth can post offensive comments here.

      1. Cool story bro.

  2. I tell people the air smells freer in Texas because it does.

    1. I don’t buy that it is going Democrat anytime soon. Even if it did, it would have to be a Democrat so conservative that they might as well be a Republican.

        1. And I think Democrats in places like Texas coming up with reasonable candidates who told the full retard progs to fuck off would be a very good thing. You don’t want a one party state. You need two parties that even if you don’t agree with them can be trusted not to go full retard if they ever get in power. You can’t say that about the Democrats. And that is not a good thing.

          1. they tried Wendy Davis real hard … I think she’s mulling a run for something new … she’s awful.

            1. I have a friend of mine who is a black Democrat from Louisiana. He used to be in the state assembly down there. He got swept out of office a few years ago as the state went totally Republican. He is a very decent and reasonable guy. And he says that the national Democratic Party is just nuts. That you try and tell them that no one who is far left is going to get elected in a place like Louisiana and their answer is that they would rather have a Republican in office than a Democrat who is anything but totally left on gun control, abortion, and completely toes the lefty line on every other issue. So, guys like him are just not welcome in the party. They don’t get any support and the national party doesn’t give a shit if they lose. He says the Democrat who ran for his old seat the election after he lost was a complete lunatic Prog and got like 30% of the vote. But the DNC doesn’t give a shit.

              1. one of the Broussards was my baseball coach in 1977 and later ended up (indicted) Mayor of N’Ollans … Aaron maybe?

                1. It is interesting to know someone who was an actual poltician. He tells one of the more amazing stories I have ever heard. He says after he lost the election he moved to DC and went to work for some non profit up near Capitol Hill. He would go to a bar frequented by political types up near the Capitol after work. Well, about the fourth time he goes there the bar tender comes up and politely asks him when he was going to pay his tab. My friend asked what he did he mean. Well, turns out he had been going to the bar and leaving without paying. The bar was fine with that they knew who he was and that he would come back but after four times he needed to pay.

                  At that moment it occurred to my friend that he had been in politics and held political office so long he not only couldn’t remember the last time he paid for something he had forgotten he even needed to do so. Understand, my friend was a state assemblyman from bum fuck Louisiana here. We are not talking about Huey Long or someone. But even at that level, their entire lives are comped. He says he was embarrassed that he had gotten that bad. But also, that is why guys like John McCain or Nancy Pelosi cling to office so long. They have lived in the gratus bubble that comes with holding public office so long, they can’t even conceive of functioning in the real world.

                  Even as cynical as I am, I found that story amazing. It just shows how fucked up and broken our politics are. These people are totally detached from what it is like to be an ordinary person and couldn’t function as an ordinary person if they tried. And they are claiming the right to run our lives. If that doesn’t scare you, nothing will.

                  1. I’ve been on the bartender end of that but not the comp’d end.

                  2. Great story John. I love stories like that too.

                    Average people dont live like that, so it gives me insight into why politicians act the way they do.

                    As you said, this system is way broken.

                    Trump trying to drain the swamp literally scares the living shit out them. They know that they wont have as good in the private sector and will have to take huge Ego hits. Some would rather do something illegal to get rid of the threat- Trump.

                  3. It just shows how fucked up and broken our politics are.

                    Seems that story is a rather universal story of politicians throughout history and cultures.

                  4. That is a pretty amazing story, almost unbelievable. Thanks for sharing.

              2. John, Kentucky elected their new Attorney General who is a BLACK REPUBLICAN.

                I have people in the area of me who are Black Americans with Trump signs in their yards. Its not a lot but a few.

                The DNC knows this trend. They jsut cannot really do anything about it nor evidently want to try. The illegal immigrant plan was partly to fill that void and that mostly fell through.

              3. This country now has millions of Marxist kooks that need to go. I’m highly skeptical that we can keep the country together without something being done about Marxism.

          2. “You need two parties that even if you don’t agree with them can be trusted not to go full retard if they ever get in power.”

            Right now, we don’t even have one.

            1. Yeah we do. How have the Republicans gone full retard? Is not being sufficiently pro tranny and not wanting to totally open the border what counts for going full retard now?

              1. Letting the deficit rack up like they’re going for the high score certainly seems pretty retarded to me. But I’m young enough that I’ll be spending the rest of my working years paying it back.

                To the original point: I don’t think either party can be trusted with the power of a hall monitor, much less the federal government. While I definitely believe some members of the LP would do their best to reduce the powers of the office they hold and get the hell out after, I’m not 100% sure that Venn diagram overlaps much with the people the LP puts up for office, and far less certain that anyone the LP puts up would ever get elected to a meaningful position, precisely due to their disinclination to amass the power to amass more power. However, ranked choice voting seems to be picking up steam, so I think it’s possible in a decade or so that we’ll see the unwieldy coalitions on both sides collapse under the weight of their contradictions. The LP doesn’t have much hope in a two party system, but they might be okay in a six party one.

              2. The problem with the goal is that the prevalence of progtards in the alternative has allowed worthless RINO candidates to take control over the party at the congressional level. With garbage like Paul Ryan and Susan Collins ascending to senior positions. Voters are forced to hold their nose and vote for this trash for fear of giving power to socialists.

      1. Texas will turn irrevocably blue in the next 10 years. 100% guaranteed.

        1. Then California will turn irrevocably Red in the next 10 years.

          Do you people not pay attention to demographic changes and history?

          California and Illinois were very Red and the South was very Blue 40 years ago. 30 years ago, all were Red.

        2. long as i’m not paying Texas income taxes the teams don’t matter

        3. I’ve been hearing that since about 1999 so I’m not overly worried just yet. Nothing is impossible but nothing is foreordained, either.

        4. Which is why they are putting this in the constitution now – – – – – – – –

          1. Constitutions mean nothing to Progressives.

        5. The worst thing that can happen to progressives is for them to take complete control. If they do, the idiots will completely overstep and get overthrown, because let’s be honest, if their is a vicious war between the right and the left, the left will be wiped off the map in a week.

          Being a bunch of soyboy pussies who are scared of guns, have no military or similar service and rely on everyone else to take care of them will not work in their favor.

      2. How did Beto almost beat Cruz? Beto?!?

        1. Nobody knew Beto at the time, unlike now where he’s completely fallen apart and nothing but a laughing stock. He billed himself as a moderate in the senate race. Also money, the DNC spent more money on the Texas senate race than any other election in 2018, only to lose of course.

          1. Yeah, Hollywood even went all in for that fag too. I’m sure it really chapped their asses that Cruz won anyway.

        2. I admit that I live in a blue area, but from what I can tell Texans tolerate Cruz more than they love him (myself included).

        3. He spent a metric shitload of money.

        4. almost is a stretch. Ted went full idiot though it’s not the same Ted who beat Kay Bailey

        5. As was said often after the election, “Imagine if Cruz was actually likable.” Like suggested, most of my fellow Texans just tolerate Cruz. Starting with yesterday’s voting you can’t vote straight ticket in Texas. It will be interesting to see how the new system affects the state’s current polka dot look. We aren’t purple we are red with 4 blue dots. We didn’t really have anything but amendments to vote for yesterday.

          1. Cruz needs to stick to the constitution, border security, and fiscal responsibility, It’s the right formula. Beyond that I would keep personalities out of it.

            In my line of work as a consultant, people pay me for knowing what the fuck I’m doing, accurately advising them, and getting things done. They don’t need me to have an 18 charisma score, and I don’t.

        6. For the same reason the Governor of Kentucky got beat–no one actually likes Cruz. He’s a rat-looking dude who embodies the Brainy Smurf, debate team-types that tend to set normies on edge. Also, Beat-off got a BUNCH of outside money and was getting pimped hard by Hollywood and the press. It was obvious they were trying to run the Obama playbook with him to set him up for a Presidential run in 2020. Hilariously, he lost, but still had a ton of swag from his Senate run, so he used that to launch his presidential campaign.

          To be fair to Cruz, he’s shown some actual personality. His troll of the Deadspin twats was a thing of beauty, and he recently did this sitdown with Alyssa Milano that was basically a diplomatic, “I’m willing to listen to you” thing.

          1. Is it weird the one kid in the Shriner’s hospital ads looks like he’s Ted Cruz Jr?

            https://www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/shc/news-events/meet-alec-shriners-hospitals-for-children-national-1109

            I’m not making fun of the kid, just pointing out that he looks oddly like Cruz.

      3. You mean like Donald J Trump?

        1. That is “a Democrat so conservative that they might as well be a Republican.”

          1. Yeah, people give me weird looks when I say the Trumpster’s politics most closely resemble Bill Clinton’s, but it’s pretty accurate, I think. Certainly if you compare the Clinton after the red wave swept the House in eh, 92? Once Newt was the speaker.

            1. Except of course that Clinton was far more fiscally conservative. RIP

            2. Bill Clinton didnt roll back government like Trump has. Trump has submitted budgets that cut far more than Congress will allow.

              Bill clinton was a bad President while Trump is the best president in over 80 years.

    2. If you take a breath, I’ll tax your lungs.

      – Elizabeth Warren

      1. Only the right lung.

        1. Only 1/1024 of the right lung untaxed.

    3. Except for Lubbock. And Fort Stockton.

      1. taking my first trip to Lubbock soon for KSU-TXTech go Cats.

        1. I’ve only been once, about a year ago. I’m not joking about the air, it smells like natural gas for miles around. I couldn’t imagine living there. But I’m sure there are plenty of nice people who do. Hope your trip goes well.

          1. when i was a kid dependent on which side of town you were on and what time it was Emporia, Kansas smelled like a Dolly Madison bakery (yum, zingers) or an IBP beef plant

    4. You know who else has no state income tax?

      The commies in the state of Washington.

      1. And it’s a constant effort to fight off initiatives to add one every couple of years. The progtards in King county are obsessed with adding one. In Spokane we just passed a local initiative preventing the kooks on our city council from emulating the kooks in Seattle and one at the municipal level. Which is against the state constitution.

  3. And just how are they going to pay for this irresponsible giveaway to the rich?

    1. I am sure Peter Suderman is writing that column as we speak.

    2. By cutting “essential services” to the state’s “most vulnerable populations”, I’m sure.

      1. Yes, of course. Everything is so terrible and unfair.

    3. My guess is with the $5 head charge on sexually oriented businesses.
      https://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/sobf/

      1. Pot, ass sex and abortion being literally the only goods in the economy that libertarians have found cause to exempt from any form of taxation.

      2. Shit up and take my money.

      3. Hahaha, he said “head” tax.

        1. dishes and laundry

    4. TX already has high property taxes. It’s why they have low property prices – and it also means they are already taxing the rich.

      1. they also have low property prices because they let builders expand out everywhere, as other states should.

  4. This is all Trump’s fault – – – – – –

  5. I wonder how creative the legislature would have to be to collect an income tax by any other name.

    Payroll tax?

    Employer tax?

    I don’t doubt they’ll try something someday.

    1. In Washington state they called their corporate income tax a “business and occupation tax”, corporate income taxes having been adjudicated unconstitutional a half a dozen times by the state supreme court. Where there’s a will there’s a way.

      1. We have a corporate income tax in Texas, it’s called the ‘Franchise Tax’. It has nothing to do with being a franchise. It’s a tax on revenue, not profit.

        1. A tax on revenue sounds worse, though. At least a tax on profit doesn’t cause you to lose money if you would otherwise have broken even.

          1. a tax on revenue is more fair. why subsidize failing businesses by not taxing them?

            1. If they’re failing because of the tax, it’s pretty counter-productive.

              1. I double checked. The tax is .575%. You have a choice to deduct one only of COGS, payroll, or $1M. I assume the idea is to keep it simple.

      2. B&O tax is actually worse than income tax, in theory, since it is on gross receipts and not profits. Spares us having to file an income tax return, but is very bad for low margin businesses.

  6. Yes, no income tax. But property taxes out the wazoo.

    1. That’s a big reason why these income tax proposals are doomed to fail. Passing them would blow the shit out of everyone’s budget.

      1. I have a cousin who is a native Californian who explained to me part of why California is so fucked up. It actually has to do with Prop 13. You see Prop 13 froze the property taxes of existing property owners but not people who moved into the state or people who bough new construction homes. So, Prop 13 froze the property taxes of everyone lucky enough to own a home in 1978. The biggest state tax expense is property taxes. So freezing the property taxes allowed people to vote for endless amounts of spending and taxes on other people without any danger of their taxes going up. It set up the middle and upper class left in California to spend other people’s money to their heart’s content.

        I had never known that or thought about it that way. Prop 13 was seen at the time and still is seen as this great populist victory for small government and low taxes. In reality, by insulating a large number of people from having to pay for their political preferences, it turned out to be just the opposite.

        1. You have occasional profound moments. This was one.

        2. That’s incorrect.

          Prop13 limits property taxes to 1% of assessed value, and that assessed value (or maybe the taxes derived from it) cannot grow more than, I think, 2% a year. The assessed value resets to sale price if sold. There’s some exception for seniors, I think, so they don’t hang on to 4 bedroom houses after the kids are gone.

          It incentivizes people to stay in their house instead of moving with jobs. It leads to neighbors having wildly different property taxes.

          My taxes actually dropped during the Great Recession because the assessed value dropped (that 1% limit). But as prices rose again, my assessed value rose faster than 2% because the 2% was relative to the previous taxes.

          1. It does that too. But you have all of these people who stayed where they were and voted for all of this stuff and thanks to Prop 13 never had to worry about paying for it.

        3. John, under Prop 13, property taxes can only be raised on those early properties at 1% per year.

          They are still voting for their own property taxes to go up but at a much lower percentage. Almost the same effect as you mentioned.

          Some of the old residents of CA ended up selling their homes for 10+ times the original cost and moved to lower tax states. They of course typically voted for more mandated state spending and tax increases before they left.

          Boomers. I fucking hate that Generation.

        4. Prop 13 also discourages people from moving (like when they change jobs), which makes traffic worse.

    2. Maybe. I just randomly picked a house on Zillow in Waco, Texas. Its listed at $79,000 and the property tax for 2019 is $1,123.

      Another random house in San Antonio for $190k. Property tax for 2018 $5,398.

      That is about double what Georgia charges. We have state income tax, sales tax, and sin tax.

      1. An advantage of income taxes is that when you are retired or unemployed, your taxes automatically adjust. Not so with a property tax.

        Tax rates in Texas are about 3x that if California on about 1/3 the value. So the final bill is about the same. Unless you are retired. I think California has big tax breaks for retired people.

        Texas gets a lot of property tax revenue from mineral rights.

        At the end of the day, the money has to come from somewhere. The real measure of taxation is percent of gdp. Texas ranks well on that measure but obviously they aren’t at zero taxation.

        1. Here is something that is very surprising. Texas total state spending in 2018 was $216 billion. California’s total state spending in 2018 was $190 billion dollars. Texas actually has a larger state government than California. Texas is ran a $240 million deficit in 18, which is pretty insignificant in a $216 billion budget. California ran a $9 billion surplus.

          The difference between Texas and California isn’t so much spending or even taxes. The difference is regulation. It is California’s regulatory state that is killing it not its taxes or government spending. If the Progs were not retarded, they would realize they could have their big government if they would just give up on having the regulatory state strangle the economy.

          1. I’ve had this conversation with proggies and the inevitable response is “Rules! People need rules!”

            I differ in that I think generic rules like “don’t steal” and “fulfill your contracts” are enough.

            Regulators gotta make rules or they can’t pay for their kids’ college.

          2. California might have a surplus on paper but its a huge lie from fancy accounting.

            California has huge unfunded pensions, including CALPERS. Via transparency laws, you can view pensioners benefits and they are outrageously large. We have discussed how these state pensions are a mirage that depend on market highs and low retirement numbers for that year.

            I would bet that tens of thousands of CALPERS eligible employees are running up high salaries while they can. Once the economy takes a shit, they will put in their papers and run for Nevada, Colorado, Texas….

            Commifornia is also passing the dollar on massive capital projects like dams, roads, power plants, and bridges.
            California Construction Projects

            When the $3.7 Trillion Municipal bond market takes a shit, it will ruin the USA economy. As designed.

            1. That is all true. But that doesn’t change the fact the Texas spends more money right now than California does and collects more taxes. The fact that California is going to go broke pretty soon because of public worker pensions doesn’t challenge the underlying point that Texas isn’t the small government low tax paradise people think it is. What it is more than anything is a low regulation paradise.

              1. Uh John, I checked those numbers and this says that Texas’ 2 year budget is $216.8 Billion.

                Texas Comptroller State budget 2018-2019

                1. Looks like Texas spends less per year than Commifornia AND has less regulation.

        2. Many states have 100% Homestead exemptions for age 65+ or whatever age.

          While that sounds generous to our nation’s elderly. The old people still vote for increases to Social Security and to get more and more from the younger generations before they die.

          And they rarely pay property taxes at that age.

        3. An advantage of income taxes is that when you are retired or unemployed, your taxes automatically adjust. Not so with a property tax.

          Prop tax cash payments can easily adjust for elderly – assuming they are the actual owners. Prop tax can just become a lien. When the owner dies, the lien gets settled on transfer to next owner. And since lifetimes of larger groups are pretty predictable, a city/county and certainly a state can predict those future cash flows and borrow against them if they can’t time the expenses.

          And if unemployment is some multi-year expectation, then it makes sense for that person to look somewhere else for work – and move there – and sell their property. Better for them – and prob better for those remaining as well.

      2. Where I live now the property tax is sick. They recently built a minimum security prison huuuge school for the city’s teenagers to the tune of many millions. There is always road work and there is always some sleeping cop being paid overtime at the site.

        The town I lived in before moving here didn’t even have a police force. Property taxes were less than 1%. But it was the middle of East Bumfuck.

        Tradeoffs.

      3. Sales and sin taxes are the ones that most need to be eliminated. How many people know at the end of the year how much they paid in sales taxes?

      4. I might tolerate a sin tax if I were provided with my choice of sin.

    3. Residents of NH concur.

      1. So I’ve heard.

        1. I’m pretty sure they have a “view” tax. Nicer the view from your dining room, the higher the property tax bill.

          There is no seatbelt law though.

          1. I moved to NH recently. The property taxes seem pretty reasonable compared to what I was paying in Omaha. They do have a “meal tax” which is a tax on pretty much all restaurants (even some takeout, it seems?) to the tune of ~10%. It’s annoying but hardly breaking the bank – though it does make me chuckle when they claim there’s no sales tax in the state. In fairness, there’s a lot less sales tax than most other places, but it’s nonzero in some sectors of the economy at least.

            Sadly I didn’t move to one of the towns that has a town hall once a year so the citizens can exercise a line item veto on the proposed budget. I wish we could do something like that for the federal government, despite how unwieldy it would be.

      2. NH is nice, unless you’re retired and have interest and dividend income to live on, which does get taxed.

  7. And Texas is Purple my ass!

    Democrats vote for tax increases. If the majority of Texas voters are voting against tax increases then they are not on board with Democrat policies.

    All Democrat policies require heavy taxation.

    1. >>Texas is Purple

      Austin complex about being the bratty little sister to 3 other cities but state capital … “pay attention to us!”

    2. The majority of Texas voters didn’t participate in an off-year election you fucking dope.

      1. Poor new guy. He no read about other general election years that Texas ALSO voted down tax increases.

        1. It’s a constant battle to hold them off in WA. On his show, Andrew Wilkow has been proposing states adopt their own electoral colleges for state election. It’s a good idea. Then my state wouldn’t be at the mercy of King county all the time.

  8. “My constituents don’t want a state income tax. And that’s what I’m here to do is represent them,” said one Democratic lawmaker when asked by the Dallas Morning News why she voted with Republicans to put HJR 38 (later to become Prop 4) on the ballot.””

    Kudos to that dem lawmaker.

    Something many on the left do not understand is that just because someone has a D next to their name doesn’t mean they are in lockstep with the party.

  9. The Texans who voted for it should give their extra money to those of us who have state income taxes. Help out the less fortunate and they obviously had no other plans for that money anyway

    1. You are being sarcastic or didn’t read the article well. We already weren’t paying any income tax. We just made extra sure it would be harder for one to get implemented in the future.

  10. This is great and Texas is still quite a bit better than most other states, but it’s hardly low tax or fiscally conservative. The property tax rates are absurdly high and now that Texas property values aren’t that low anymore, the dollar amount paid in property taxes can be quite a bit higher than what you’d pay in income taxes in many other states. The sales tax is also pretty high at 8+%. As far as the culture, Austin (the capital) is really really far left as is San Antonio. The centers of both Dallas and Houston are pretty left (but there is some sanity in the suburbs). Don’t forget that Beto got a sizable chunk of the electorate to vote for him just a few months ago. Between the high amount of hispanics and the flood of Californians and yankees from the NE, Texas will go blue eventually, unfortunately. I lived in several towns on the outskirts of Dallas over a span of 11 years and I know a disturbingly high amount of communists there and the leftward trend is pretty obvious. The leftward trend is everywhere in the US, it’s just that Texas is 10-20 years behind the curve where say California and New York are 10-20 years ahead of the curve.

  11. For 45 years I’ve paid more in Austin property and sales taxes than to the IRS vampires with their communist manifesto income tax. This constitutional amendment demonstrates the brain drain from the People’s States with two income taxes to Texas and Florida. Unless Oklahoma, Arkansaw and LousyAnna want to fill up with nothing but cretins, they ought to repeal their income takes while there’s still time.

    1. Tennessee still has plenty of room. (Best place I ever lived, tax wise. Otherwise too, actually.)

      1. I’m liking NH a lot so far. Might be the best tax wise – I grew up in Florida but haven’t lived there in a while, so it’s hard to compare directly.

  12. There would be controversy on income tax if we would just allow our obvious betters oppressing to take all our money.
    Just think of how much paper, time and aggravation if we give all our money to the government.
    This way, the enlightened ones who are kind enough to take the time and trouble to enslave us would be able to throw us a few crumbs so we can barter for some more water from the creek, decorate our caves with left overs from the junk yard, and collect some more hides from the animals we killed.
    Plus, our beloved betters will be able to spend our money on their fourth vacation home in Monaco as a well-earned reward for rescuing us all from the evils of capitalism.
    Nothing but good would come from this idea.

  13. Make the Mexicans pay it.

    1. While not with just that in mind, it is actually one of the reasons why being supported by property tax instead of state income tax is good for Texas. We have a higher portion of immigrants than a lot of other states. Property Tax, directly or indirectly, is paid by everyone. Income Tax is only paid by those legally being paid.

  14. Now if they could just get the property taxes in check. 2.3% wasn’t so bad when your 5 bedroom house was worth 180K. It gets a bit pricey when it’s valued at 400K.

  15. “Some states have better alternatives to income taxes than others”

    Yep, but Reason does not want to point out the obvious – Texas has a lot of oil and natural gas. Lest you wonder if this is a model that other states can adopt.

  16. “Income taxes are more economically harmful than consumption taxes because they capture both present and future income, and this discourages investment,” she tells Reason in an email, writing that “the absence of an income tax is the most competitive part of Texas’s tax code.”

    Certainly not. It would be great if an economy could thrive with all investment and little consumption but it just doesn’t work that way. When there is over-investment we call them bubbles.

  17. And now you know why outside of the Blue Cites, Texas looks like Mississippi with oil.

    Even including those Blue Cities dragging Texas out of second world shithole status, the numbers are still damning:

    #34 in Education
    #37 in Healthcare.
    #39 in Opportunity
    #40 in Natural Environment

  18. As a semi-random visitor to Texas, I’m most interested in opening up the liquor laws. When I’m visiting my sister it can be a real problem finding places to sell me that sweet, sweet bourbon that I’ve replaced my blood with.

Please to post comments