Texas prides itself on being a low-tax, low-spend state. Consequently we rank forty-eighth in the nation in per-pupil spending for public education and almost last in mental health. But whether we choose to spend a little or a lot, we have an “upside-down” revenue system with overreliance on indirect taxes (sales and ad valorem) and underreliance on direct taxes (personal and business income). Enacting a low-rate, broadly based personal income tax is the only way to balance the tax system while ensuring a steady revenue stream to meet Texas’s future public spending requirements.
Weinstein is the director of the Center for Economic Development and Research and a professor of applied economics at the University of North Texas, in Denton.
(On the Web: the same idea from F. Scott McCown, the executive director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities.)