Texas Legislature Tries to Avoid Tax Increases

Every candidate vying for a legislative seat knows what lies ahead in the 2011 session: a budget shortfall of at least $11 billion, probably higher. But when it comes to raising revenue, lawmakers are old hands at the old sleight of hand, employing creative accounting to avoid stepping on that political third rail, the tax hike.

“In the past, I’ve said at various times, ‘Oh, they can’t get out of this session without raising taxes,’ and then they do,” says Billy Hamilton, a former deputy comptroller of public accounts and formerly the state’s chief revenue estimator. “I wouldn’t ...

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