We don't have a state income tax?

Neighbor Grover sez a retirement dinner is an event where the boss says nice things about you he never said during salary discussions.

Okay, fellow Texans. Our elected officials in Austin like to brag about the fact that our state doesn't have an income tax, and that our state always operates on a balanced budget. The first is prohibited by our constitution, the latter is mandated by our constitution.

Then the politicians like to brag about holding the line on taxes, and tax rates. It makes them more secure at re-election time and we seem to buy this.

But at the same time, the Austin contingent pressures appraisal districts everywhere to keep raising our appraisals so the property taxes keep meeting the state's ever-spiraling revenue needs.

So now, when actual property, land and structure appraisals are not sufficient to raise those revenues, it seems the appraisal districts have been authorized to determine business valuations not only by structure and property, but also by revenue estimates.

Income tax, by another name.

As consumers, we all pay state sales taxes. Businesses in this state pay sales and use taxes. Now, apparently, businesses are going to pay a tax on revenues.

Income tax, by another name.

In Milam County, the first businesses to feel this impact has been the motels, especially here in South Milam where the rental units have been busy during the Sandow 5 Power Plant construction.

If you've been reading The Reporter's front pages, you know our motel operators have seen their appraisals skyrocket—300 to 1,000 percent—simply because, for a temporary period, their business has been very good.

Mitul Patel, who owns the Best Western in Rockdale, has filed suit against the Milam County Appraisal District. Every business person in Texas should keep a close eye on this one.

Good luck, sir, and power to you.

Even though the state constitution prohibits an income tax, businesses already pay one not related to the appraisal districts and property taxation.

A tax law firm in Houston by the name Cooke & Company (no relationship to your scribe here), has a motto: "Making life a little less taxing." It specializes in tax preparation and IRS representation and serves The Woodlands and the greater Houston area. On its web site, Houston 1040. com, you'll find the following statement:

"The Texas state constitution prohibits a state income tax. Texas is just one of seven states that have no individual (personal) state income tax.

"Theoretically, Texas has no business income tax either, as it too is prohibited by the state constitution.

"Yeah, right. Instead, Texas has a so-called franchise tax, which was recently amended to become the 'margin tax.' If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a duck."


Son Kyle in Houston sends this along to his "old man."

If my body was a car

If my body was a car this is the time I'd be thinking about trading it in for a newer model. I've got bumps and dents and scratches in my finish and my paint job is getting dull.

But that's not the worst of it. My headlights are out of focus and it's especially hard to see things up close.

My traction is not as graceful as it once was. I slip and slide and skid and bump into things even in the best of weather.

My whitewalls are stained with purple veins.

It takes me hours to reach my maximum speed. My fuel rate burns inefficiently.

But here's the worst of it. Sometimes when I sneeze, cough or sputter, either my radiator leaks or my exhaust backfires.


Finally, from neighbor Gary Griesbach:

Difference between the bird flu and swine flu? One needs tweetment and the other oinkment.

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2009-08-06 digital edition

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