We need a state personal income tax to meet the challenges ahead. The Texas constitution guarantees that income tax revenue can be spent only on cutting property taxes and funding education. It also guarantees voter control over income tax adoption and rate increases. Uncle Sam would pick up some of the cost, since state income taxes are deductible from federal taxable income. Most Texas families would pay less in taxes; only the wealthiest would pay more. Texans are warming to this big idea because without it, the state can’t fund any other big idea.
McCown is the executive director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, in Austin.