Sales tax discriminatory to lower income earners

The local distributions of the Texas state sales tax have recently been published and our Harlingen political officials are thrilled by their generous, “share” doled upon us by our state.

I have often thought that something just doesn’t seem to make sense when this kind of tax is levied upon consumers purchases of daily life necessities. My point is, a state sales tax has long been described as a fair tax, paid by all purchasers at the same rate for a given specific item. Sounds plausible, right?

Not so … a sales tax (flat tax) intentionally discriminates, as taxes so often do, between society’s “haves” and the “have nots.”

Actually we should be protected from discriminatory taxation by order of our Constitution which was vaguely written and containing confusing wording which have multiple dictionary definitions.

Let’s consider three wage earners residing in Texas, one earning $10 per hour, one earning $20 per hour, one earning $200 per hour.

Using an example of Texas 8.25% state and local sales taxes we can define the impact of a this tax upon these three families. Let’s start with the supposition that each of the three persons has purchased items that have accumulated $1,000 plus sales tax due. Using our Texas sales tax of 8.25 percent, a $1000 expenditure requires an $82.50 tax. Therefore, the $10 per hour shopper will work eight hours, 15 minutes to pay the tax, ($85.50 divided by $10 per hour = 8.25 hours).

So now look at the $20 per hour shopper who will only need to work 4.125 hours, ($82.50 divided by $20 per hour = 4.125 hours = 4hours, 7 minutes) to pay for the same taxed dollar amount of expenditure.

Go on to the third shopper who earns $200 per hour, (yes there are many out there) will only need to work .4125 of one hour to pay for that same dollar amount taxed at 8.25 percent, ($82.50 divided by $200 per hour = .4125 of one hour = 24.6 minutes) to pay for the tax on $1,000 taxable goods.

This situation equates to a state governor defending his opinion of his state sales tax to me saying,” Jack, I see that your friend who earns $200 per hour who has a very comfortable income and can easily afford the necessities of life, so I will have him work 24.6 minutes to pay for his $1,000 taxable purchases, but since your other friend only earns $10 per hour I will require him to work twenty times longer to pay the sales tax on his $1,000 purchases.

Should the continuation of a Texas sales tax be allowed when it is so easily provable to be blatantly discriminatory between the various levels of income among the citizens of Texas?

Now, most readers of this opinion will comment that if there were no sales taxes, local residents and businesses duly paying their state taxes would be disadvantaged by visitors from outside our borders who would essentially be buying in a tax free atmosphere.

More about that next time.

Jack Stevic, Harlingen