A Public Service Message from the American Income Life Insurance Co.Waco. TexasBernard Rapoport. Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer Texas must face facts: we need income tax By Bernard Rapoport This essay, published in the Waco Tribune-Herald of January 22, 1987, is reprinted with permission. I write today on a subject on which too many Texas leaders and Texans, have a closed mind. My views will preclude any possibilities of my being a viable candidate for elective office, but consideration of what follows is essential. Therefore, in writing it, I announce I am not a candidate for any office, a decision which I am certain will disappoint no one. Query: Which is worse drugs or slogans? One can destroy an individual; the other, a society. Ours is a society beset with a multitude of problems most of which are the result of drugs or slogans. This, however, should not cause despair. There is hope. Dennis Gabor said it most poignantly: “I believe in the perfectibility of man, because this is the only working hypothesis for any decent and responsible person. But I know of the almost infinite corruptibility of man. History is mostly a sad tale, full of nauseating examples.” Any citizenry that votes for any politician who categorically states that he will never vote for this, that or the other usually gets the kind of government that it deserves: lousy. I don’t know how many of our Texas legislators and politicians were elected on a platform of “I will never vote for new taxes” or which, if any, of our elected officials swore a blood oath never to vote for a state income tax. But I do know this: If they believed what they said, they are too unintelligent to be our representatives. Or if they didn’t, they are lacking character. Emerson reminded us, “Character is that which can do without success.” We need leaders Our Legislature is now in session. My plea to all legislators is to recognize once and for all that we Texans want to be led more than leaders want to lead. So, my dear legislators, “Lead! Lead!” Texas needs, must have and in the end will have a state income tax. It is the fairest tax for all and the surest way to ensure revenue. Interestingly enough, when you talk with legislators privately, they all agree. They just need to be reminded about Emerson’s advice relative to character. Our state is blessed with natural resources. Almost since statehood Texans have acted as though certain things are forever, and in terms of the material \(which, One more bit of sagacity from Emerson: “No truth is so sublime but it may be trivial tomorrow in the light of new thoughts. People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.” Whether it was cotton, oil or real estate, our leaders led us to believe everything was just perfect that cotton prices would be forever high, that oil prices could do nothing but go up, and the same for real estate. It is almost as though our state leaders thought of themselves as captains of an airplane, and all that was necessary was to put it on automatic pilot. Life’s exigencies are far more complex and difficult than guiding a piece of machinery. So often the truth of today becomes the lie of tomorrow. We will not ameliorate the quality of life thinking that things will be the same or better than they are today unless we are as Emerson indicated we should be unsettled knowing that we have to face up to change. We are becoming insensitive and look with disdain upon welfare recipients. It is as though the mentally disabled, the infirm, those who cannot do for themselves., opted for that condition. We forget, too, that the vast majority of those who are without work are so not because of choice but because of the harsh realities of an economic system that apparently requires unemployment as a condition to correct inflation. Society, heal thyself Any society deserving of survival must address itself to doing what is necessary to heal, relieve or correct these conditions. Most importantly, it must be a total commitment and cannot and should not be diverted because of an infinitesimal group of undeserving who are parasites. All of the above rhetoric has but one purpose: to arouse Texans that the time is past due. Yes, we are delinquent in many areas, such as providing top-notch educational systems for children, meeting our social responsibilities and providing a business approach to budgeting and revenue so that business people would have a predictable basis for decision making. Most of all, we must have fairness in how we approach meeting these responsibilities. So, inescapably, we must face up to this: The financial needs of the state require a state income tax. Over 46 states have such a tax. Our time is now. American Income Life Insurance Company EXECUTIVE OFFICES: P.O. BOX 208, WACO, TEXAS 78703, 817-772-3050 BERNARD RAPOPORT Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer 18 MARCH 6. 1987
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