Governor Rick Perry and the Legislature can’t agree on a school finance plan, but Michael Boone has an idea he thinks can’t fail. Here’s how he would sell it in a TV ad campaign.
The ad would show pictures of schoolchildren in desks and seniors in their gardens. A soothing but concerned voice talks of underfunded schools and overtaxed homeowners.
Then comes the punch line: “If you want to lower your property taxes 50 cents and put a tax on lawyers, vote YES on Saturday.” [Emphasis mine]
That idea, Boone said, would be so popular that “they won’t have enough voting booths.”
Boone has standing to propose such an idea. He’s a lawyer.
– from “A lawyer’s case for lawyer tax” in the Houston Chronicle, May 16, 2004
The article gets even wackier from there.
Boone is a staunchly pro-Bush Republican. A Republican, favoring increased taxes? For improving schools? What next, a Liberal war-hawk? Oh wait, there’s Lieberman… 😀
On a serious note, I don’t quite get the supposed attraction of this tax. Saving a whopping 50 cents on one’s property taxes doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that’s bound to excite folks to the degree suggested in the article, even if it is coupled with a tax on what many perceive to be an odious and overpaid profession (DISCLAIMER: I’m a law school graduate myself).
Of course, increased money for schools is — at least in theory — a good thing, so I can’t argue with that. But this opportunistic Robin-Hood’ing doesn’t quite seem like a very logical way to go about it. Why not a tax on overpaid sports crybabies, er, athletes… say, .1% of their income? That should be enough to pay for a few thousand extra teachers each year in Texas. Or how about a tax on crappy actors/actresses? Wait, that might corrupt schools with too much money.
My point is… why a specific tax on lawyers, other than to satisfy the typical “Lawyers are scum” pandering? Sure, lawyers are sometimes obscenely compensated, IMHO, or at least obnoxiously greedy. But all of that isn’t really limited to lawyers, is it?
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In summary, I usually would applaud pretty much anything that helps schools. But a ‘lawyer tax’ — no matter how quirkily appealing — just doesn’t seem to be an appropriate option.