Editorial: Vote NO on Constitutional Amendment Proposition 5

Kelli Cook, Publisher, The Golden Hammer

The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper urges a “NO” vote on Constitutional Amendment Proposition 5.

Proposition 5 reads, “The constitutional amendment dedicating the revenue received from the existing state sales and use taxes that are imposed on sporting goods to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission to protect Texas’ natural areas, water quality, and history by acquiring, managing, and improving state and local parks and historic sites while not increasing the rate of the state sales and use taxes.”

Funds from the sales tax on sporting goods would go toward the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission.

As conservative leader and State Republican Executive Committeeman Mark Ramsey of Houston has forcefully argued, it’s long past due the time when Texas should abolish the property tax and move to fund the entire state government, all school districts, and local governments with sales taxes.

Property taxes are regressive and punish the elderly and families who live on fixed incomes. They make all Texans, even those who ostensibly own their homes without a mortgage, “renters” in the sense that we’re all borrowing our homes as long as we pay the government our “rent” in the form of property taxes.

In contrast, sales taxes are fundamentally fair. Only those individuals who make purchases must pay the tax. Sales taxes encourages savings and investment.

The problem with Proposition 5, however, springs from the fact that it’s a Constitutional Amendment. If passed, Proposition 5 will limit sales taxes on sporting goods to specific government departments. Instead, Texas should move to a sales tax which has the flexibility to fund all of government, so Texans may move away from property taxation altogether.

There’s no point to piecemealing sales taxes just as our state legislators have begun serious consideration of a statewide sales tax to replace property taxes.

Texans should not create restrictions on the passage of a sale tax. We should all vote “NO” on Proposition 5.

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