My new friend, Bill Hammond

Of all the weird things that have happened to me recently, reading this

“It’s universally hated, I get that,” Bill Hammond, president of the Texas Association of Business, told an audience of chamber of commerce members last month. “But if we were to repeal it, we’d have to get another $3 billion to $4 billion for schools, etc.”
Last week, Hammond said he remained dubious if the money will be there to phase out the tax.

“I think the reality is the state needs revenue,” he said.

which appeared in this Statesman article regarding efforts to repeal the margins tax, shocked me most. There is a movement afoot to completely dismantle the tax over the next 5-10 years, though no one appears to have decided where replacement revenue can be obtained and they’re apparently working at cross purposes given that one group is being led by the foolish and crazy Talmadge Heflin at the TPPF, another by some douche from the National Federation of Independent Business who I think is the same moron who didn’t understand how insurance companies work back in 2010 and still another from John Colyandro at some Insert Name Here Conservative Blah Blah To Give Co-Conspirators Something To Do When They Narrowly Escape Jail.

I’m not by any means a fan of the margins tax. I think it was a half-ass measure to try to bring in revenue from companies that weren’t paying a damn thing to support the state they were profiting from (schools, roads, courts, public safety, etc all cost money even in Texas where we like to pretend business doesn’t take advantage of any public services) without actually broaching the real subject, a state income tax. I’d love to see this repealed but only if we can find something that will actually bring in enough revenue to help us grow infrastructure and services at a rate that can keep up with our massive population growth. This brings me back to Hammond who nailed the only issue that matters…


It’s simple… the growth in population has far outstripped the services and infrastructure our taxes can fund, nevermind expand. Sure, revenues expand with that growth, but it will take decades to catch up and we were already far behind.

Hammond has gradually been adjusting his position over the last three years but this is the first time I can remember seeing anything like this stunning (and completely truthful) admission. It’s like Nixon going to China; Reagan embracing Gorbachev; Me passing a bar WITHOUT GOING IN!

Taxes are not inherently wasteful. Spending on slush funds for the Governor or tax abatements for companies that earn billions in Texas ALONE are wasteful uses of taxes. Raising revenue to provide a better quality of life in Texas isn’t wasteful. Spending money on schools, roads and public services (like police and fire) isn’t wasteful. The time has come to move past this ‘all cuts, all the time’ stupidity and realize that we can’t pay for the stuff we want, stuff that will ultimately grow the economy, without taxes.

Thanks, Bill, for finally acknowledging the fucking sky is fucking blue. Now, convince the cast of asshats you’ve been supporting for years to do something about it.

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One Response to My new friend, Bill Hammond

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