A Texas-Sized Budget Problem Deferred — to Now

The 2006 tax swap — lowering local school property taxes and creating a new state business tax to make up the difference — is at the center of the state’s current budget troubles. It was never an even swap, and the architects are still pointing fingers over what and whom to blame for the “structural deficit” in state finances.

Then-Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn told lawmakers at the time that the package of bills didn’t balance. But it was easy to dismiss her concerns because Strayhorn, a brash and ambitious Republican, was also campaigning as an independent for governor against Rick ...

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