Texas Farmers Union Asks For Income Tax
Group says it’s the most fair way to pay 
for public education

Waco, TX (May 11, 2005) The states oldest farm organization joined two Texas lawmakers to call on legislators to oppose current school finance plans and refocus attention on creating a graduated income tax.

“Texans in rural communities are hurting financially,” said Wes Sims, president of the Texas Farmers Union. “Giving the richest people in the state a tax cut at the expense of the poor and middle class is wrong. We wholeheartedly support a progressive state income tax because it is the fairest tax structure. An income tax is based on you ability to pay.”

State Senator Eliot Shapleigh (D-Austin) and Representative Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) are the only two Texas legislators to advocate for a comprehensive income tax. Since all tax bills must originate in the House, Representative Rodriguez is the only legislator to file such legislation.

Rodriguez’s plan abolishes the Maintenance and Operations Property Tax, providing a permanent fix that will slash total property taxes by about 55 percent of the average property tax bill.

“Under my plan, 80 percent of Texans will save money,” said Rep. Rodriguez. “Every other tax plan in the Texas Legislature raises taxes on the poor and middle class to pay for tax cuts for the richest. My income tax plan completely abolishes Robin Hood, increases education funding by $5.1 billion, and gives every child an equal opportunity education.”

For several years, Senator Shapleigh has been promoting the benefits of a state personal income tax to civic and business groups, editorial boards and educators across the state.

“If we want 21st century Texas education excellence then we need a 21st century Texas tax system,” said Sen. Shapleigh. “The Texas tax system is outdated, terribly regressive and inadequate to educate our children. If we fail our kids, then we will leave them a legacy of being the first generation in Texas history will be less educated and less prosperous than the one before.”

The Texas Farmers Union joins other advocacy groups calling for an income tax. The Texas League of Women Voters, the Consumer’s Union, and the Texas Landowners Association have all voiced their support for the tax plan.

“We are happy to join forces with our urban Democrats to fight for an issue that will greatly improve the quality of life for rural Texans,” said Sims. “The tax is on our platform, so we don’t expect to give up on this important issue.”

Texas Farmers Union, P.O. Box 738, Sweetwater, Tx 79556