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Dallas Morning News
Robert T. Garrett/Reporter

All fees, surcharges and other revenue-raising measures would be classified officially as taxes under a state constitutional amendment proposed today by a veteran House Democrat.

Rep. Richard Raymond, D-Laredo, said his “honesty in taxation” measure would prevent politicians — if they peppered taxpayers with higher fees for things like driver’s licenses, hunting licenses and copies of birth certificates — from claiming they balanced Texas’ budget without raising taxes.

“The truth is, if you raise fees, you raise taxes,” said Raymond, vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee.

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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.

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