Special Committee on Texas Tax Structures

Taxes. Is it a personal responsibility to pay them? Or is it merely legalized theft? And once paid, what kind of “right” do the taxpayers have in how the money is spent? And does it matter HOW the tax is levied- are some types of taxes more “acceptable” than others?

The Special Committee on Texas Tax Structures is taking public comment on ways to better fund the state. (NOTE: Be sure to read the You Decide: Voices of Texas in Chapter 11 of the textbook.) Specifically, they are considering reducing or eliminating the sales tax, local property taxes, and introducing an income tax.

Two members of the committee: Senator Hamilton and Representative Jefferson are two key members- but on different sides of the issue. Senator Hamilton believes we need to never have an income tax and that sales and property taxes are fair and responsible ways to fund the government. Representative Jefferson thinks that a basic progressive income tax coupled with a 50% reduction of both sales and property taxes will ensure long-term stable financing of the government- and that is the more responsible way to serve the people.

Your letter needs to be to either Hamilton or Jefferson. The following items need to be discussed in your letter:

Assignment:  You will write a 1000 word letter (with emphasis being in the 1000 word area) to one of the committee listed above explaining your position concerning the issue of how to fund the state. You will then explain, as a citizen, your position on the following questions:

  1. How much of a personal responsibility it is for individual people to pay taxes (any kind) to the government. (Remember, we are talking state government here.)
  2. How much of a “right” do individual have in saying how their taxes are spent? Importantly, be sure to discuss HOW individuals express that right.
  3. Lobby for either of the two sides- keep things the same, or include an income tax. Be sure to show how your choice will make the items in #1 and #2 (above) BETTER. Yes, you can define “better” however you want, but be clear and consistent. IMPORTANT: You need to write to either Hamilton or Jefferson with the hope of changing their mind! (This means if you want an income tax, you write to Hamilton…


  1. If you are using someone else’s words, in a direct quote, use quotation marks and a citation.
  2. If you are paraphrasing someone else, use a citation.
  3. If you are using statistics, numbers, or data you did not collect yourself, use a citation.
  4. Use this for help:  https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/
  5. Your paper needs to be minimum 1000 words.
    1. This is an essay. It needs to be in paragraph form.
    2. Please double space
    3. We’re using word count – don’t waste space with a giant “header”
  6. Sources:
    1. As many as you need.
    2. Only use academic, scholarly, news, or informational websites
      1. Wikipedia is not a source.  This is non-negotiable.
      2. Blogs are not a source. If it says ‘blog’ in the url, it’s a blog
  7. Use in-text citation, any style, with a complete Bibliography/Works Cited page (this is required).

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