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Texas Lawmaker Continues Push For Honesty in Taxation
Shakespeare once asked "Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet?" Well, a South Texas lawmaker says a tax by any other name still stinks.
The Texas Legislature prides itself on holding the line on taxes. But State Representative Richard Pena Raymond, a Democrat from Laredo, says he's noticed the state finds other ways to force citizens to pay more. He says, "There's so many fees that you have to pay, and all of a sudden the legislature will say we're going to raise a bunch of fees but we're not going to raise taxes. Well that's just not true. A tax is a tax is a tax."
Taxpayers are equally frustrated by this practice. Denise Cabrera says, "They try to cover it up or put it under the table so that way they can do it. And that way after they've taxed us there's nothing we can do anymore, just put up with it." Johnny Hunter chimes in, “Don't disguise it or pretend that it is something else, a fee or whatever."
Representative Raymond is calling for "Honesty in Taxation." He's proposing a constitutional amendment that would classify fees, surcharges, penalties and other revenue-generating measures as taxes. Then -- he says -- these taxes could each be raised on its own merits. Raymond tried and failed to get this idea through the last legislature. He's hoping for broader support this time around.
By Fred Cantu