During a standing room only hearing of the Senate Transportation Committee, committee chair and bill sponsor Senator Carona (R-Dallas) introduced a committee substitute to SB 855. With the substitute, Dallas area taxpayers will no longer be the only ones on the chopping block. The committee substitute adds a couple dozen pages to SB 855 and will lead to tax increases in Austin, San Antonio, and Houston as well.
In addressing the matter of why he wants to raise taxes in the middle of a recession, Sen. Carona responded that "If we pass this today, we couldn't get it out there for another 24 months." Carona added that "you wouldn't want to wait until everything (with the economy) was better."
As is to be expected when the committee chair is also the bill sponsor, the docket was dominated by those lobbying in favor of SB 855. Numerous regional authorities and chambers of commerce were trotted out to cheerlead for tax increases. Also of note during the hearing was Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) instructing the spending interests and rent seekers in the room to refer to tax increase as "revenue enhancements."
SB 855 was already a bad deal for taxpayers but today's substitute made it all the more odious. ATR will continue working with Lone Star State lawmakers to find a solution to the state's transportation challenges in a way that does not raise taxes. Stay tuned to atr.org for the latest information on this important matter.