Have you ever wondered about all those nickels and dimes (and quarters) of obscure taxes tacked onto your phone bill? From the Houston Chronicle:
AUSTIN — Consumers would save an estimated 63 cents a month on a $50 telephone bill, depriving state coffers of close to $400 million over the next two years, under a bill endorsed Monday by the Texas House.
House Bill 735 would eliminate the Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund assessment, created in 1995 to help facilities such as schools and hospitals get access to telecommunications services.
And they need a separate bill to eliminate this? I’m afraid to ask how many other defunct programs my taxes are no longer funding.
Although the state has billions in new money for the next budget, it also has a big local school property tax rate cut to subsidize and demands for other spending.
“I need to think about it,” Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, Finance Committee chairman, said of the measure. “People forget we promised to cut property taxes by $14 billion. We’ve got to pay for it somehow.”
But the tcom tax wasn’t set up twelve years ago to off-set this year’s reduced property taxes.
What bothers me about this isn’t the 63 cents. It’s that, plus the many other nickels and dimes that are tacked onto every aspect of our lives, for laudable social or civic projects. In and of itself, Polimom doesn’t object to funding social or civic programs, nor do I have a knee-jerk reaction to taxes, generally.
However, once a defined need has been met, then the government has no further claim upon my funds for that purpose. You need more money? Then you need to separately make your case.
This, right here, is how we’ve managed to create our bloated, bureaucratic, inept government — because once the government has a source of revenue coming in, it can’t ever let it go.