After all the news that has come out concerning how much revenue the state loses from tax exemptions, it is stunning that Hilderbran’s Ways & Means committee is considering making the $1 million franchise tax exemption for businesses permanent. (It is scheduled to expire in September.) Here in a nutshell is how we got in the mess we are in. First, we enact a tax that the comptroller (Strayhorn) tells state leaders will not perform; second, those leaders refuse to believe what the comptroller says; third, we enact a tax exemption that ensures that the tax will underperform by an even greater amount; fourth, even though state law calls for the deadline to expire, we decide to make the exemption permanent instead, thereby assuring that the state will have to forego more revenue. All this because 28,000 businesses might have to actually pay the taxes that they owe. Look, people. We have a business tax. Businesses should pay the tax. But our legislators are addicted to tax breaks. They are tax-policy alcoholics. Pleash, bartender, lemme do one more exshemption. I promise, ish my las’ one. It’s one thing to say that we aren’t going to raise taxes. It’s quite another to keep handing out tax breaks. Here we are, talking about selling state parking garages to make ends meet, and we’re still giving tax breaks to folks who don’t want to pay their taxes. Unbelievable? No, just business as usual.
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