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State Representative Richard Peña Raymond (D-Laredo) has announced he will introduce a constitutional amendment that establishes honesty in taxation and classifies fees, surcharges and other revenue-generating measures as taxes.

“Two weeks ago I met with staff members of the Legislative Council and directed them to draft the appropriate bill establishing once and for all what all hardworking Texans already know – that a fee is a tax – period,” said Rep. Raymond.  “I will introduce this legislation so that we can take it up and, I believe, pass it, during the upcoming legislative session.”

Rep. Raymond, who is Vice-Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said that for too long elected officials in Texas, Washington and governments throughout the country have passed taxes by calling them fees, surcharges, assessment and even penalties.

“It is time we make it harder for politicians to hide the truth from the people, and the truth is, if you raise fees, you raise taxes.  We need to make sure all taxes are out in the open, so Texans know when their taxes are being raised,” Rep. Raymond said.

Raymond fears that a looming deficit of roughly $25 billion will tempt some lawmakers to try and make up that deficit by raising fees and surcharges without calling them taxes. That would include items like driver’s licenses, hunting and fishing licenses and even obtaining a copy of a birth certificate.

“Working families and small businesses are the first who get hit when these hidden taxes are created or increased, and right now, they are the ones who can least afford for government to take more money from their already thin wallets,” said Rep. Raymond.

Rep. Raymond said he would ask every member of the House and Senate to support his legislation, which will require approval by 2/3 of the Legislature in order to put the proposed amendment up for popular vote next November.

“Texans not only want the truth when it comes to honesty in taxation, they are demanding it.  I know they will approve it overwhelmingly,” predicted Rep. Raymond.