411111111 increase it and only from those producers who are taking few chances and prospering relative to the oil industry as a whole. Bullock’s other proposal is to replace the current corporate franchise tax with a gross receipts tax. The franchise tax currently weighs most heavily on those businesses with large capital investments and inventory. These are precisely the businesses suffering the most in the current depression. They are the least able to pay and cannot generate enough money for the state. The gross receipts tax would change the state’s basis for collecting money, but it would still be unfair. In essence, the higher a business’s margin of profit, the smaller the percentage it would have to pay in state taxes. With a flat tax rate of, say, .5 percent on gross receipts, businesses with a 50 percent mark-up would end up paying a far smaller proportion of their profits than high-volume businesses with a one percent mark-up. This gross receipts tax has gotten little play in the legislature, perhaps because of its inequitable nature. While, in the past, potential inequity has never been known to preclude legislative consideration, the advantages this time work against certain major corporate interests. Perhaps the gross receipts tax was designed to send corporate lobbyists running into the arms of the corporate and personal income tax, though Bullock has never shown such tendencies before. Several industry representatives have begun to broach the subject in private meetings. As their income suffers, they suddenly see the equity of a graduated tax on income. If these players are talking about an income tax in private, perhaps these discussions will enter public debate in the not-so-distant future. It is time for legislators to stop talking about temporary sales tax increases or lotteries or pari-mutuel betting as if they were permanent solutions to a permanent problem. They are trying to dupe voters twice over if they try to convince them that the lottery and betting will solve the state’s revenue crisis as well as the personal revenue crises of those who lose their jobs or suffer wage cuts. The next regular legislative session must be devoted to Bullock’s sales tax proposal and to an equitable means of taxing corporate income. If they try to sell us anything else, it’s snake oil. G.R. Raising a Racket ICALL ON newspaper readers of the state of Texas to rise up against the state lottery before it’s too late. Heretofore, only a small group of concerned Baptists have marshalled their forces to stop it in its tracks. Now it is time for patrons of the media to act as a class to ensure that we are never subjected to a Texas lottery. This will not be easy. Most of us have already learned to ignore news of the lottery as it gets kicked around the legislature. The newspapers have plunged ahead with the assumption that the public cares deeply about this issue. But who marches in the street demanding a government lottery? Does anyone pressure the legislature to create this program for us? Of course not. Nobody cares. I did not use to care. I thought the lottery wouldn’t affect my life in the slightest. You wouldn’t catch me standing in line to play the numbers, especially if the tickets were to be sold at those horrible 7-11 stores I’ve been mugged by those places enough already. So, I thought, it does not concern me. But I was wrong. It has dawned on me that the lottery will indeed touch my life. For the chronic newspaper reader it is a quality-of-life issue. Perhaps we don’t fully realize what we’re in for. But used to live in a lottery state, and I must issue warning. If this lottery is created, get ready for an unending stream of stories about how some poor schmuck just like yourself has won a million dollars. But that poor schmuck is never yourself. He’s Everyman, but he’s always someone else. Every week, every month, always the same story. Joe T. Schmuck hits Lotto Jackpot. Wins million dollar purse, plans immediate vacation to Hawaii. Considers paying off mortgage, but may trade in his 1978 Ford pickup first. The stories will tell you how much his winnings will amount to on a monthly basis, and how he played the same number every week, a number based on his wife’s birth date and their number of years of matrimonial union. \(The next week you will play your wife’s birthday and your years of marriage and you will imagine that $15,000 monthly check and the next month you will still be in debt to the banks and credit plans to quit his job, and there will be a quote about how he wouldn’t know what to do with himself if he weren’t working. Or he will plan to quit his job immediately and there will be a quote about how he’s not sure what he will do with himself after he quits working. We are talking here of what are essentially commercials for the government, running usually on the front page with a color photo. Sometimes the newspapers will carry stories about how nobody has won the lottery for weeks and weeks and the purse has gotten bigger and bigger, having grown to nearly the size of the state’s budget deficit. Who will be the lucky American to strike it rich? \(Texas newspapers can be expected to play the lottery up as a big exploration for oil. The grand On and on it will go, well into perpetuity. The newspapers will get filled up with promotionals for the state’s racket, and we will get no peace. It’s a sorry sight. The newspapers are filled with so much nonsense already. Let’s not make matters worse. It’s like having half a plate of tripe and asking the line server to pile it on. D.D. 4 SEPTEMBER 12, 1986
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