The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Friday, July 15, 2005

Villarreal's Letter to His Daughter

The Express-News has a letter today from State Rep. Mike Villarreal to his daughter, Bella:

Dear Bella,

On Monday, I voted against House Bill 3, the tax bill I've been working on for two years. Though you are only 18 months old, I want you to hear from your father what went wrong and how it's going to affect your future.

This bill is like a spare tire, undersized and useful only for a short stretch of road. It will help the governor and lawmakers get beyond their next re-election. But in two years, our school finance system will fail again and we will be the worse for having driven on a spare tire so long.

This bill fails to make smart investments for your future. Today, the lifeblood of prosperous economies is creative people who are inventing new products and new ways of doing things better. We now live in a service-based economy where people who trade ideas hold the best jobs.

This bill does not spend one new cent on improving the schools you will attend. Instead of investing in young Texans like you, the Legislature chose to stay the course of the cheap-labor economy that recruits its few higher skilled workers from other states.

From Sunday service, we know Jesus told his followers, "What you do to the least of my people, you do on to me." Lawmakers got this message backward by raising taxes on the working and middle class and reducing taxes on anyone who earns more than $100,000.

As if that were not bad enough, they also gave more to the wealthiest school districts, leaving less privileged schools behind.

This bill taxes some businesses and not others. Take your uncle who owns a plumbing supply store. Because he chartered his business as a corporation in Texas, he must pay the business tax. His biggest competitor, a partnership, does not have to pay the business tax. Is this fair? Now I expect to see more partnerships and less business tax revenue.

This bill does nothing to correct our state's over-reliance on taxing capital-intensive companies. Today, these companies represent 25 percent of our economy, but pay 75 percent of all business taxes.

Attracting the best jobs will continue to be a challenge. I expect if you do not graduate from college, you will find few well-paying job opportunities.

Starving our government limits our chances to invest smartly. I expect more double digit increases in college tuition and a decline in our university rankings as we ask them to pay for themselves.

What all this means for you is that while your mom and I may have the means to pay for tutors, extra classes and all the things you may not get in school, that won't necessarily be true for all your neighbors and friends.

I fear that our community and our great state of Texas will never reach its true potential.

P.S. I don't expect you to understand what a capital-intensive company is until you are 2 years old.

A good, easy to read explanation of what's wrong with the way we pay for our schools.

First seen at Latinos for Texas.