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The Texas budget is in big trouble. Any thoughts from conservatives?


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#1 speedracer

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 01:49 PM

The Texas legislature only meets once every two years instead of always being in session like most other governing bodies. Texans like that! Keep them damn rascals away from the levers of government! Even an awful lib like me kind of likes it.

But the other shoe has dropped. Since they only create budgets every other year, we don't have solid budget surplus/deficit numbers ahead of time. It appears at this point that the state deficit may be as high as $25 billion over the next two years.

25!

Krugman points it out (http://www.nytimes.c.../07krugman.html), but the highlights:

1. Less than 20% of Texas public workers are unionized*, compared to over 75% in New York.
2. Texas ranks near the bottom in spending per student. That well is dry.
3. Texas ranks near the bottom in spending per person on Medicare/Medicaid. That well is dry.
3a. Oh, and Texas leads the nation in medically uninsured, so we can't just throw them off.
4. Our taxes are low, and there's no way on God's earth they're raising them. This is Texas after all.
5. Every area of Texas politics is overwhelmingly Republican and has been for decades.

If someone can tell me how we got here, I'd love to hear it. And it'll be interesting to see where they cut since the two most obvious (education and medical) are already cut to the bone.

*I am one of the few public employees covered by a public sector union. I've been a union rep in another union and I've never seen such a government friendly union as this one. With zero complaint from the union, we instituted voluntary furloughs last year and involuntary furloughs this year. I'm required to take 6 days without pay before June 1st. And our annual 3% raise has been ended without a fight from the union ("We must help the government in these trying times blah blah blah"). And while our health insurance plan is fantastic, we also pay much more than average. I paid 10% of my GROSS (seriously, think about that number) last year on my health/dental payments (not including copays).
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#2 dohdough

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 02:45 PM

If someone can tell me how we got here, I'd love to hear it. And it'll be interesting to see where they cut since the two most obvious (education and medical) are already cut to the bone.

Ummm...it's Texas? :D

Oh...and white people...LOLZ.

As an ignorant Northeast elitist, I think it's kinda like NH, but worse. Guns, bootstraps, and R FREEDUMS is pretty much the modus operandi. Not to mention the historical mythology of the state. But I believe that Texas is one of the few red states that actually pays more in taxes than it takes in. At any rate, marketing works and this is why people are borked.

#3 Msut77

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 03:09 PM

Non story doesn't fit the Glibertarian storyline.

#4 Feeding the Abscess

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 09:42 PM

Lower federal tax rates so states can raise more revenue to cover their budgetary problems until they can get their houses in order.

#5 dohdough

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 09:48 PM

Lower federal tax rates so states can raise more revenue to cover their budgetary problems until they can get their houses in order.

LOLZ...how? By raising state taxes?

#6 Feeding the Abscess

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 09:57 PM

Yep. Lowering federal rates to offset the state hikes would make it palatable to conservatives. Bring the troops home to placate the liberals and offset the tax cuts.

Everybody wins.

#7 Clak

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 11:44 PM

Tax the shit out of firearms.


Ha....
Ha ha......
Bwahahahahahaha.......yeah I just had to have a laugh.
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#8 speedracer

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 12:37 AM

Lower federal tax rates so states can raise more revenue to cover their budgetary problems until they can get their houses in order.

Rick Perry and the rest of the Texas Republicans have an image to uphold. They would slit their own throats literally before they slit their own throats politically by "raising revenue".
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#9 Dead of Knight

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 12:40 AM

lol Texas
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#10 IRHari

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 02:06 AM

It's not true libertarianism. That's why it's not working. Texas still is forced to pay state Medicaid. Get gov't out of the way and let the free market fix it. Come the Fuck on.
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#11 mykevermin

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 03:01 AM

You don't want real answers, do you, speed? I mean answers that will work - with Republicans in charge, lord knows legitimate avenues will happen (e.g., raising tax rates).

The real answer is this: you are fucked. You as in speed, not the royal you. The echo chamber in the modern era has demonized unions and government as the problem. No matter how much you pay into your health premiums (tenpercentholyshit), no matter your wages, no matter your benefits, you and 20% of your state worker colleagues are labeled "UNION." In the modern political climate, you need nothing else to be a political villain.

You're going to lose some of everything: benefits, wages, days to work (more than your furlough has already demanded), health care, and so on.

Here's the real, genuine kick in the cock: the labor market overall is so shitty right now that you and most of your unionized ilk will lose so much, yet you lack the opportunities to say "fuck you, texas" and go to the private sector for more money and benefits. Some of you will, and some of them will land great jobs. Others will come back to work, empty handed from their free-market experiences despite their quality as workers. Some of them won't be rehired - and the rest of you will be scared to death by the risk of the outside world that you'll accept those cuts and work on, disgruntled but employed.

There is one other thing that Texas could do (and all states should do) - but nobody ever brings this up, and it's even LESS likely to occur than a tax hike. Even in Texas. Hell, *especially* in Texas.

What could that be?

Spoiler


$25 Billion? I have to have a sardonic laugh about that. Weren't the Republican dumbfuck bloggers crooning about Texas' financial state as recently as a few weeks ago? Aren't they still?
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#12 Clak

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 03:29 AM

Have you never seen Friday Night Lights? Football is a fucking religion in Texas. I'd be all for it personally, maybe some of those players will decide to actually focus on their education instead of nursing the false hope of going pro.
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#13 Feeding the Abscess

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 04:15 AM

http://finance.yahoo...6.html?x=0&.v=2

The University of Texas football program was once again the leader in both revenue, with $94 million, and profit, with $68 million.

And Texas sucked this year, missing the bowl system all together. Trying to find info on Texas A&M and Texas Tech, two other programs that likely made a few million.

On average, college football pays for most every other college sport. Basketball is profitable for the big programs as well.

#14 UncleBob

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 05:06 AM

And yet, California, which is about the polar opposite of Texas, has an even higher deficit. If we were to look at California and Texas, what are the similarities between the two?
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#15 soulvengeance

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 05:16 AM

And yet, California, which is about the polar opposite of Texas, has an even higher deficit. If we were to look at California and Texas, what are the similarities between the two?


Stupid governors?
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#16 62t

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 05:28 AM

http://finance.yahoo...6.html?x=0&.v=2

And Texas sucked this year, missing the bowl system all together. Trying to find info on Texas A&M and Texas Tech, two other programs that likely made a few million.

On average, college football pays for most every other college sport. Basketball is profitable for the big programs as well.


The same article mentions TCU barely break even. I would imaged that outside of the big school they would not be making much.

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#17 mykevermin

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 05:32 AM

Hmm. That's not just contrary to what I've read, but highly contrary.

There are undoubtedly some profitable programs - I should have specified that.

While I can't provide a literature review for you, I have to be exceptionally skeptical of that claim, especially for Texas. I don't doubt UT sports are profitable, I don't believe the $65M profit claim.

In my searches, I didn't find anything confirming my skepticism, and little reaffirming what you're posted, FtA - aside from other reports of the same data.

But! I did find this amazing government website: http://www.ope.ed.go...tics/Index.aspx

You can look up financials on dang near any school's athletics program. Click through to the "revenues and expenses" tab.

Which I did a cursory glance of. I looked up the University of Cincinnati, where I earned my grad degrees, and Ohio University, my first employer. Cincinnati did not turn a profit on athletics this year. But they didn't turn a loss, either. Their accounting says they broke completely even, and revenues minus expenses were -$0-. I find that extraordinarily difficult to believe. Ohio turned a $1.7m profit, which is another claim I am highly skeptical of - given insider knowledge to those institutions.

It smacks of creative accounting. First, I see nothing that accounts for the cost of travel for the teams, which is odd. It must be in there - nobody's foolish enough to overlook that. There are plenty of additional expenditures which are indirect and not included, in particular students who are paid by the university to tutor many athletes (and this is irrespective of many student athletes scholarships being a waste of funds, given dismal graduation/completion rates).

But the most insidious thing, to me, is the revenue category "not allocated by gender/sport." It says to me "we're counting every shirt, hoodie, shot glass, stuffed mascot toy of our college as revenue for sports." If you take that away, Ohio lost over $5 million last year. Cincinnati lost $10 million that year.

UT Austin, by these data, turned a profit of $29 million ($8.5 if you omit the "not allocated" category). Remarkably less than football altogether. The $68 million was simply the difference between the sum football revenues less football expenses, and you can confirm that for yourself looking at those numbers.

Man, this site is fun. I mean it.

At any rate, perhaps the answer is to eliminate all collegiate sports except for football and perhaps basketball? I dunno.

If nothing else, these numbers reek of highly falsified data that the government should spend a better job auditing. Unless you believe that TCU's football expenses and revenues were *precisely* $20,609,361. For both.

;)
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#18 mykevermin

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 05:37 AM

And yet, California, which is about the polar opposite of Texas, has an even higher deficit. If we were to look at California and Texas, what are the similarities between the two?


They both are *huge* contributors to our ever-expanding incarcerated population.

Both have large problems with immigration.

Both, as states in the United States, have marginal tax rates on high-income earners that are too low, capital gains tax rates that are too low, and allow the federal government to neglect to close corporate tax loopholes - all flustering our national tax revenue, and thus contributing to the decline of federal funding for both states.

There are plenty of policy solutions to each of those concerns. Democrats are too scared to do much on #1 and #3, and have a wildly different solution to #2 than Republicans (who are, contrary to what you thought you were getting with your vote, also too scared to do much about that).
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#19 UncleBob

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 05:51 AM

California has the highest state sales tax and one of the highest gasoline sales taxes. They ranked #6 for state income tax (in 2008). For comparison, Texas ranked #43. As of 2007, Californa had some of the highest Capital Gains tax rates. But this is all through quick Google searches (can link, if you'd like), so if you have information that differs from this, please share.
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#20 depascal22

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 06:41 AM

And yet, California, which is about the polar opposite of Texas, has an even higher deficit. If we were to look at California and Texas, what are the similarities between the two?


They're both run by parties that don't really give a shit about fiscal responsibility? Did I win something?

Republicans and Democrats aren't trying to run this country. They're trying to win, baby! Beats me as to what they're winning. It's not like USC and Texas played for political control of the country in 2005.

#21 mykevermin

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 07:16 AM

But this is all through quick Google searches (can link, if you'd like)


Please do. And offer percentages, not comparative rates (which are not particularly useful). Are they the highest in percentage of income tax, or in their revenue? You simply say they're #6, which doesn't do anything for this discussion.
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#22 IRHari

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 08:44 AM

Doesn't California have a unique form of ballot initiatives?
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#23 Balallar

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 09:04 AM

54vxd0qd3k

#24 cindersphere

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 09:32 AM

Stupid governors?


Stupid economy, California was more entrenched in the housing bubble than most other states and we are in trouble thanks to the collapse.

California has the highest state sales tax and one of the highest gasoline sales taxes. They ranked #6 for state income tax (in 2008). For comparison, Texas ranked #43. As of 2007, Californa had some of the highest Capital Gains tax rates. But this is all through quick Google searches (can link, if you'd like), so if you have information that differs from this, please share.


Good job, you focused on certain Californian taxes and failed to look the per capita total tax rate. In this respect California ranks somewhere in the middle nationally last time I checked. Secondly all those fancy tax rates you listed are a holdover of conservative tax revolt or prop 13. The prop pretty much limited the cities and counties to only a couple of sources of income, sales and income and capital gains tax in order to float their budget (which prop 13 slashed in some areas by as much as 80 percent when implemented). Crappy tax cuts got us those high as hell taxes. I find it funny that Brown is the governor in charge now and speaking against the prop which was passed when he was originally in office as governor.

Why did you capitalize Capital Gains?

Edited by cindersphere, 08 January 2011 - 09:55 AM.

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#25 Feeding the Abscess

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 11:28 AM

Hmm. That's not just contrary to what I've read, but highly contrary.

There are undoubtedly some profitable programs - I should have specified that.

While I can't provide a literature review for you, I have to be exceptionally skeptical of that claim, especially for Texas. I don't doubt UT sports are profitable, I don't believe the $65M profit claim.

In my searches, I didn't find anything confirming my skepticism, and little reaffirming what you're posted, FtA - aside from other reports of the same data.

But! I did find this amazing government website: http://www.ope.ed.go...tics/Index.aspx

You can look up financials on dang near any school's athletics program. Click through to the "revenues and expenses" tab.

Which I did a cursory glance of. I looked up the University of Cincinnati, where I earned my grad degrees, and Ohio University, my first employer. Cincinnati did not turn a profit on athletics this year. But they didn't turn a loss, either. Their accounting says they broke completely even, and revenues minus expenses were -$0-. I find that extraordinarily difficult to believe. Ohio turned a $1.7m profit, which is another claim I am highly skeptical of - given insider knowledge to those institutions.

It smacks of creative accounting. First, I see nothing that accounts for the cost of travel for the teams, which is odd. It must be in there - nobody's foolish enough to overlook that. There are plenty of additional expenditures which are indirect and not included, in particular students who are paid by the university to tutor many athletes (and this is irrespective of many student athletes scholarships being a waste of funds, given dismal graduation/completion rates).

But the most insidious thing, to me, is the revenue category "not allocated by gender/sport." It says to me "we're counting every shirt, hoodie, shot glass, stuffed mascot toy of our college as revenue for sports." If you take that away, Ohio lost over $5 million last year. Cincinnati lost $10 million that year.

UT Austin, by these data, turned a profit of $29 million ($8.5 if you omit the "not allocated" category). Remarkably less than football altogether. The $68 million was simply the difference between the sum football revenues less football expenses, and you can confirm that for yourself looking at those numbers.

Man, this site is fun. I mean it.

At any rate, perhaps the answer is to eliminate all collegiate sports except for football and perhaps basketball? I dunno.

If nothing else, these numbers reek of highly falsified data that the government should spend a better job auditing. Unless you believe that TCU's football expenses and revenues were *precisely* $20,609,361. For both.

;)


I wouldn't doubt some creative accounting is in play.

I'm also fine with eliminating any collegiate sports programs that aren't self-sustainable. You'd piss off every women's activist group in America doing that (pretty much every women's college sports program is a drain), but there'd be quite a few men's programs on the block, too.

#26 UncleBob

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 12:47 PM

Please do. And offer percentages, not comparative rates (which are not particularly useful). Are they the highest in percentage of income tax, or in their revenue? You simply say they're #6, which doesn't do anything for this discussion.


Here's the capital gains rate by state: http://www.thereibra...state-by-state/

Here's the information where California is at "#6" - http://www.taxfounda...files/sr163.pdf . It's not directly tied to the income tax alone, it refers to the overall state/local tax burden. Now, I'm not saying that California is too high/too low - just saying that they're quite the opposite of Texas on the scale of taxes.

If you want a state-by-state direct comparison of income tax rates, http://www.money-zin...come-Tax-Rates/ - California has the third-highest top rate - but, of course, without seeing how those rates fall, it could mean that hardly anyone pays it. However, meanwhile, Texas has no state income tax - the opposite side of the California coin.

http://www.taxadmin..../rate/sales.pdf gives you the sales tax by state - while they don't tax food (damn, look at TN!), they do have the highest general merchandise sales tax rate on the chart. If you average in the local sales taxes within the state, California comes up at #2 (http://www.taxfounda...96-maplarge.jpg).
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#27 HotShotX

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 01:18 PM

4. Our taxes are low, and there's no way on God's earth they're raising them. This is Texas after all.


Tough shit. Raise your damn taxes. Texas and every other state in the country is going to have to accept the fact that your taxes will need to be raised AND tax funded services will need to be cut in order to close most state budget deficits in a reasonable amount of time.

If that's too much of a problem for you, just keep listening to politician after politician that keeps spouting the idiocy that they can cut taxes or keep them low and NOT drive your state budget into a ditch.

Just remember, you're listening to someone who spends millions on a campaign to earn a job that only pays a few hundred thousand.

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#28 mykevermin

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 02:47 PM

Speaking of creative accounting, the Tax Foundation is a policy arm of the Republican party. They are an agenda-driven institution, and not to be trusted with data.
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#29 CaseyRyback

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 02:51 PM

You guys are thinking too hard. The real solution is to do nothing and blame the Democrats.

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#30 cindersphere

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 02:54 PM

Dude I want a tecate now.
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