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Don’t mess with Texas… except the taxes, that is

All the coverage of California we have had in Britain has not mentioned the fact that another large State in the United States has just balanced its budget.

I believe I am right in saying that the second largest State in the Union (Texas) has balanced its budget without increasing taxes.

Texas has achieved this by the strange practice of – cutting government spending

This policy does not often occur to politicians or media folk.

The taxes in Texas

26 comments to Don’t mess with Texas… except the taxes, that is

  • Is that really the Texan flag?

  • yeah…the dark blue part doesn’t show well on a dark blue background…it needs a white surround to show properly……

  • …lone star state, if you have to ask……

  • …or a tan one to work really properly…

  • asm

    Proud to be a Texan (even though I’m originally a yankee from Minnesota).

    You forgot to mention the fact that Texas has NO STATE INCOME TAX. Even more impressive to have a balanced budget, no?

    You think it’s hot over in England, though? It’s been 105-110 degrees here in North Texas for the last few days! An armadillo spontaneously burst into flame in my front yard this afternoon. The paint peeled off my car, and my lawnmower melted. That’s hot!

  • R C Dean

    As a native Texan, I am quite pleased to see this. Texas does have a pretty steep sales tax by US standards (8.5%, I believe? – I live in Wisconsin now, so I’m not sure), but property taxes aren’t outrageously high.

  • Don Eyres

    Minnesota elected a new (Republican) governor last year who campaigned on the platform “No new taxes”. Of course, all the pundits said, he’ll “clarify” his platform once elected, or adjust to circumstances. He didn’t. Minnesota faced a predicted $2B deficit at the election time. Governor Pawlenty passed a budget with no new taxes.
    Pay attention to that little word “predicted”….. it turned out the deficit was $4.6B, not $2B. Nothing else in the preceeding paragraph changed.
    So yes, children, balancing a budget can be done without raising taxes!

  • Everett Curtis

    6.25% state sales tax. Cities, counties, and transit authorities can also levy their own sales taxes (subject to certain limitations). However, all rates combined cannot exceed 8.25% – so that’s the typical rate you’ll find in urban and suburban areas.

    I’ve always found it funny the way mentioning the Lone Star State on a message board or comment section will immediately bring out the Texans (disclosure: I’m one too).

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    I can see the Texas flag just fine, but then again, I’ve got the printer-friendly version of Samizdata bookmarked. 😉

  • Chris Josephson

    Congrats to Texas and Minnesota.

    The Commonwealth of MA. (forget why we’re a commonwealth and not a state) is a bit schizophrenic because we’re one of the most Democratic states, yet we’ve had a Republican as governor for so long I can’t recall the year we last had a Democrat as Governor.

    Anyway, our governor (Mitt Romney .. “Mr. USA Olympics”) won because we have a hugh deficit and it seemed as if he had some great ideas as to how we could reduce our debt without raising taxes.

    When he first took office he slashed staff (reduced the number of lawyers and PR people various state agencies had) and seemed to be going in the right direction by eliminating waste that had been there since the Revolution.

    Unfortunately, lots of his ideas have been watered down by our legislature and not given the chance they should have been given. So, I don’t know if he’ll be able to achieve his goal or not.

    It’s tough being a Republican governor in MA.. You could fit all the Republican legislatures into a mini-van there are so few. Some of the opposition from the legislature is payback from the Dems. for the election.

    I believe the majority of voters still back him. The problem is many of our Dem. legislatures run unopposed. There is no incentive for them to change if they believe nobody will challenge them in the next election.

    There are some grass roots organizations trying to change this sad reality. I think they’ll have a good chance because people are paying much more attention to what our politicians are doing, or not doing, to reduce our debt and get MA.’s economy going hot again.

  • It broke 109ºF in Austin today. The weekend forecast point to triple digit highs every day. The humidity is the killer. Ugh.

    One of the best things about Texas is the lack of an income tax.

    In case anyone is wondering, here’s an article about the Texan budget balance and the cuts made. I wish more could be made and I really wish we didn’t get that federal money, but it’s certainly a start.

    The truely annoying thing is, once all the dust clears from these state budget battles and once memories have faded, the statists will creep back and demand that spending be revived and boosted, “because we can afford it.”

  • Edmund Burke

    Just shows what can be done when the democrats leave town.

  • sick puppy

    Yup, we can up and declare war on anyone we choose. Having used up our oil on air conditioning we’re now coming over to use up yours!

    Its a well know fact that not repairing the famous chad punching machines saved a whole lot of money and Texas balanced the books by hiring in a load of accountants from Enron. Who just happened to be in the area and available for immediate employment.

    Personally I cannot understand why, as a group of intelligent libertarians capable of acting for ourselves, we need to elect a governor anyway. I wouldn’t trust him anymore than I trust his brother.

    Regime change begins in the state at home!

  • Andrew Duffin

    Doesn’t Texas have ten squillion barrels of oil reserves or something like that?

    Isn’t it possible that those mineral riches, rather than any kind of governmental competence, is the reason for the happy budget situation and the lack of a state income tax?

    Of course, I must admit that the UK has the largest oil production in Europe and WE still manage to screw up our finances; but then we have Gordon Brown, not everyone can boast that.

  • Dave O'Neill

    Ah come on Andrew, we’ve been screwing our finances up since the 1960’s 😉

  • Antoine Clarke

    “Sick puppy” has me confused. Is he referring to Florida or Texas?

  • Funny how many Texans comment on Samizdata. There must be a tradition of liberty somewhere in the state.

  • Doesn’t Texas have ten squillion barrels of oil reserves or something like that?

    Isn’t it possible that those mineral riches, rather than any kind of governmental competence, is the reason for the happy budget situation and the lack of a state income tax?

    If we did, we’d never know about it because the Whacked Out Marxist Environmentalist Terrorists have clamped down on any drilling and exploration, land-wise or in the Gulf.

    I know this because I used to work for a BRITISH marine survey company (Racal NCS) that had an office here…but they shut down operations because the contracts simply weren’t there. Most of what used to be booming oil industries have turned to engineering so that they can maintain the rigs and plants that they have….and all still with in the ever-tightening noose of environmental regulations.

    But it isnt oil that drives our economy. Its something else, and I will have to let any other Texan who knows whats going on explain it better.

    Balanced budget…all that with renegade Democrat Leftist Senators playing hooky on the job because they know they are outnumbered!!!

    There seems to be some sort of fascination going on between the UK and Texas. Would love to know why from the Brits.

  • Heh, another proud Texan here.

    Total sales tax in my town (Denton) is 7.75%.

    It’s nice to hear we’ve “balanced the budget”, but the Constitution prohibits running (passing) a budget deficit anyway. State govs don’t run like the Federal gov.

    It’s also odd to hear praise for Austin, considering we’re in the middle of a shameful ploy by the “Albuquerque Eleven.”

    By the way, we touched 109° the other day, although it was so dry that it really wasn’t that bad. Besides, I just think about the folks struggling through highs of 122° while carrying lots of gear and working hard over in Iraq, and it puts it all into perspective.

  • Kevin,

    Another Dentonite here! I wonder if we’ll keep that 7.75% for long, though, given that the Denton County Transit Authority is planning a tax election for a light-rail boondoggle.

  • Hey Aubrey,

    I like your site, particularly the Gun Safe. Nice collection!

    To tell the truth, I haven’t been paying enough attention to the local happenings here, other than the spending travesties inside UNT. (13% budget shortfall, all kinds of course cutbacks, big tuition increases, all kinds of new buildings going up (while the thirty-year-old COBA houses about three times the number of business students it was originally meant to and gets bumped down in favor of some other construction on a consistent basis), and the reversal of the student referendum vote to NOT build a new football stadium.)

    Hmm, light rail–to connect with Dallas? I need to pick up the DRC more often…

  • Scott Cattanach

    I’m in Texas, too (born and raised here).

  • Cobden Bright

    “There seems to be some sort of fascination going on between the UK and Texas. Would love to know why from the Brits.”

    Probably because it’s inhabitants are more typically “American” than most other states (i.e. closer in beliefs and attitude to the founders of the country, as well as having things like ten-gallon hats, stupidly large cars with single-digit fuel consumption, and good ole boy mannerisms). Thus, leftie Brits loathe Texas and hold it up as an example of all that is wrong with those redneck crackerjacks across the pond, whereas more individualistic Brits admire it for similar reasons.

  • bear, the (one each)

    RC Dean: 8.5% sales tax with NO income tax is pretty good. I pay 8.25% sales tax, income tax, they just tripled car registration taxes here, my utility bills have all manner of “fees” “surcharges” and other such taxes, and an increase in the income tax is under consideration. Ahh, California! I am a native and want to be out of here so badly I can taste it!

  • Proud to be a TEXAN out of Houston
    It is great about our budget, I pay 8.25% sales tax also & I hear our “Albuquerque 11” are at it again they need to MAN UP & get back to work. I work construction every day outside even if it is 106 temp. outside they must not have bills to pay like me. If they did they would stop acting like kids that don’t want to go to school.

  • Chris

    yeah…the dark blue part doesn’t show well on a dark blue background…it needs a white surround to show properly……

    Don’t you know? Samizdata has this annoying blue background for a darned good reason. And that reason is… it’s… um…

    Actually, I don’t know what that reason is. I just know that every time it gets mentioned, somebody here says “just click on the print version and it will look normal.”

    Now, why “looking normal” and being legible isn’t the goal in the first place, I’m not quite sure. But whoever can read white type on blue background quickly and efficiently must have superhuman eyes.