FRI brief 8.5.22
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DADE PHELAN is giving taxpayers the back of his hand.
[Aside: Is there a Texas equivalent to the phrase “Bronx cheer?!?”]
Speaking at an event in West Texas, the Texas House speaker told attendees that his top priority for the next session was to restore a corporate welfare program the legislature failed to renew in 2021.
“Chapter 313” is a tax code provision that allows school districts to offer tax abatements. The state then makes up the lost revenue.
In practice, Chapter 313 has been a primary mechanism by which wind turbines have blighted rural Texas.
Related: Chapter 313 background.
Phelan is confident the house can pass a “more transparent” version of the program. LOL.
Chapter 313 is bad on the merits. Special interest tax “carveouts,” by definition, narrow the tax base. A narrower tax base, absent corresponding cuts in spending (lol), will inevitably beget higher rates for remaining taxpayers.
As a statement of priorities, for Phelan to place the desire of a few Austin lobbyists in front of his own party’s priorities speaks for itself.
Finally, this episode illustrates why conservatives must insist 100% of surplus revenues go to property tax relief/elimination. The alternative is to fritter it away along the lines of the manner in which Phelan proposes.
GLENN HEGAR, the Texas comptroller, is being called upon to apply sections (or sextions if you’d like) of the tax code regarding “sexually oriented business” to drag shows.
It’s a novel interpretation of a statute that is surprisingly on the books, in the first place. So long as it is, however, might as well use it for this more useful purpose.
Texas’ so-called “pole tax” was enacted by the legislature in the mid-2000s. The idea was to tax a politically unpopular group (strip club patrons) to fund a politically popular service (rape survivor counseling). While the law failed at its original objective, it remains on the books 15 years later.
Now, citizens are calling upon Hegar to apply that law too well, this:
Setting aside the merits of strip club regulation, there’s no planet on which the rules that apply to strip clubs don’t apply to the conduct seen above.
It’s the “weirdo gender ideology” equivalent to busting Al Capone for income taxes.
JUSTIN BERRY, two times failed Texas house candidate, has been appointed to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement by Greg Abbott. Abbott endorsed Berry in each (failed) effort at public office.
Berry, an Austin cop and vice president of the local cop union, is simultaneously facing (likely politicized) charges related to use of force complaints during the Summer 2020 craziness. While we sympathize with Berry in the specific context of that indictment, he’s nevertheless been a longstanding opponent of public transparency on these matters.
On a (potentially) related note, so-called G-files are poised to become a more significant issue in the coming years.
G-files are placed in an officer’s personnel file for misconduct when they’re investigated but not disciplined. They’re not currently available to the public, and cop unions want to keep it that way.
Berry’s new position helps the cop unions maintain that status quo.
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