Normally considered a conservative state on social and fiscal issues, Texas suddenly finds itself in dire straits on both accounts.

On the social side, the latest rankings show that Texas is one of the worst states in the nation for getting an education - they are ranked 47th in the country in literacy, with their math SAT score sitting at 49th (that’s out of 50, Governor Perry).

To counter this issue the state legislature is proposing to cut $4.8 billion in education funding over the next two years.…

Further, their reliance on abstinence only education has resulted in rankings of a different sort. Texas is ranked #3 in the country for teen pregnancy, and #1 for repeat teen pregnancy.

Meanwhile the state has decided that one way to increase revenue is to try to close the loophole that internet retailers, in this case Amazon, have when it comes to paying sales tax. Texas recently sent a $269 million bill for back taxes they say are owed by Amazon since Amazon does business in the state and has a distribution center in Texas (and was planning to build a second).

Amazon up and left the state, telling all their friends to believe what they hear - “do not to mess with Texas”. You might think free market anti-government politicians would think twice before trying to collect back taxes on a company that is providing good jobs in a bad economy, but based on state education scores, I guess it’s no surprise.

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Joe Payne

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  1. According to research published in the “Journal of Renal Care” an estimated 20% to 30% of people with diabetes will develop evidence of diabetic nephropathy ( Kidney disease ), which is the leading cause of kidney failure in the U.S. Researchers found that many people were unaware of the link between diabetes and kidney disease until they were referred to a kidney specialist. Patients saw the referral as the “wake –up call”. They had to manage their diabetes more seriously.

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  2. Remote online merchants like have been exploiting our byzantine sales tax regulations by employing permissive "Entity Isolation" legal voodoo to get around the “Nexus” issue & cynically dodge collection of sales taxes and this has been posing an unfair competitive handicap to main street retail for years. Plugging such corrupting loopholes will foster a business ecosystem of free, fair and level playing field to flourish, bring back jobs and vibrancy to main street retail and much needed revenues to the state.

    The proper venue where this should be addressed is Washington by resurrecting the “Sales Tax Fairness and Simplification Act,” H.R. 3396 which had bi-partisan sponsors but died in committee in the last congress. But this act gives the force of law only to states which enacted the “Streamlined Sales Tax Agreement” which 24 states have so far passed. But Texas hasn’t yet. So, state legislators should focus on this step first.

    Big box retail and their commercial real-estate landlords must regard the present competitive handicap from online competitors as an existential threat and crank up their lobbying efforts.

    An outfit called Alliance for Main Street Fairness ( has been formed recently to lobby to end the present online sales tax loophole.

    This joke illustrates the pathetic lack of urgency by the states & the brick & mortar victims:

    A dog is lying on the porch whining softly.
    A passerby asks the owner what is wrong with the dog.
    "thar’s a nail stickin’ up outta da porch tha’ he’s laying on.”
    "Why doesn't he move?"
    “Donno. I reckon it don’ hurt bad enough.”