Saturday, June 18, 2011

Imagine, if you will, a business selling “thingamabobs.”  It has been in business for several generations, owned by the same family.  Recently, a new manager of the business has been selected.  The business produces very reliable and well-made “thingamabobs,” and they sell at a lower rate per “thingamabob” than 90% of their competitors.  The workforce of the business works at an hourly rate at or below the rest of their competitors, and sales are fairly good.  The business then gets its annual report that due to increasing supply costs and lagging sales, in the coming year the company will not have enough money to pay its overhead, utilities, salaries or other necessary expenses to keep the business going.

Even though the business could easily slightly increase the cost of their product  and still remain competitive, the board of directors, under the leadership of its recently appointed manager, decides this is not an option.  No increase under any circumstances of their products.  The board also, under its recent leadership, decides not to use any of the money in an emergency savings account which would take care of at least half of the shortfall of the company’s income.  The board of directors makes a decision to stick with the same old price, no matter what the consequences; and, in order to accommodate the shortfall of income of the company, they layoff half the workforce.

As a shareholder in the above company, you would have the opportunity to vote your shares to retain the current management or seek new leadership, what would you do?

Unfortunately, the above scenario appears to be the course chosen to follow by our governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the House and our board of directors, the Texas Legislature.

We often hear from conservatives that government should be run like a business.  I cannot imagine any owners of a business tolerating such a ridiculous course of action as described above.  Yet, that is exactly what our Legislature, with the influence of the newly elected Tea Party candidates, has chosen to do.

Texas ranks in the bottom five of taxes per capita taken from its citizens.  We rank at the very bottom in expenditures per capita on state government in Texas.  Unfortunately, although we appear to be gaining jobs, they are jobs of the lowest pay in the nation.  

We lead the United States in minimum wage jobs.  

We started this session with over 10 billion dollars in a rainy day fund to be spent in a time of need; and if only our Legislature would look, there are at least 20 billion dollars in unjustified tax breaks and loop holes for rich folks who do not need or deserve them.  

Rather than even explore tax reform or the relative option of seriously damaging the future of this state by cutting educational opportunity, our Legislature appears to want to sacrifice the future of this state on the altar of “no new taxes.”

One could easily argue that by doing little or nothing the owners of this large business known as Texas will have to pay the price for tolerating such inept management.  Unfortunately, that’s not exactly true.  It will be the children and grandchildren of the Texas shareholders who will pay the ultimate price in a future not much better than some third-world countries.

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