Texas is a state that is among the most populated in the United States. It holds a tremendous amount of power in the federal government because it has a lot of representatives based off of its large population. Texas is one of a handful of states that prides itself on having no income tax on citizens. Texas believes that giving consumers more money to spend is great for the economy because it allows for more disposable income. However, there are some drawbacks of this, such as income inequality and less funds for government programs that can help people who are disadvantaged.

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Oftentimes, we hear about how the U.S. economy is increasing in GDP and how much better the quality of life is in the United States. Unfortunately, while this is good news, the bad side often gets overlooked. The lowest income class of society – the homeless – are often forgotten in the fast moving society. Furthermore, even when the economy is doing bad, the poor and the homelessness is rarely ever talked about. We often take homelessness for granted, as if it is a necessity in order for others to succeed. Unfortunately, this may be true, but it does not mean that we should turn a blind eye on the lowest classes of society. In the United States, life has gotten so good that people often forget about the less fortunate members of society; these people often fall out of the workforce due to the inability to keep up with the economy or drugs and low socioeconomic status. Moreover, it’s clear that homelessness is a huge problem, and there are a couple reasons why this has been a problem throughout American society for multiple decades. The top three determinants of homelessness are the affordable housing crisis, the drug addiction epidemic, and the growing issue of income inequality. These three factors make up a large portion of why there is currently a homelessness issue in the United States. The antidote to the homelessness problem is not a one-size-fits-all antidote – it requires a chipping away at the social problems that are affecting millions of Americans. While homelessness will always exist, there are some solutions that policymakers can pursue in order to alleviate this issue and raise as many people out of homelessness as possible (Franzini 1).

Income inequality is a huge factor in homelessness. While the rich have gotten richer, the poor have gotten poorer. As cliché as it sounds, it is true and there are millionaires and billionaires who recognize this. Unfortunately, the American economy is very top heavy, and many have lost their jobs to automation and globalization. There are some solutions to this, such as introducing a universal basic income to combat the loss of jobs to external forces. Some have laughed at this solution, but others have seriously entertained this. Simply taxing the rich at a higher rate and redistributing this income through an inefficient government bureaucracy is not the solution, but part of the solution (Kuznets 1).

Additionally, Texas is a state that needs to be able to try and come up with more funds. We saw last year that the floods in Houston were a huge issue, and Texas needs to try and combat this by finding ways to allocate more funds to disaster relief other than relying on the government.

Furthermore, in this capitalist society, some are born into wealth while others are born into poverty. The people born with better living standards constantly push for or support policies that allow them to retain power and keep it away from those who are born into poverty. This is not a conspiracy theory; we just saw in the news how rich, affluent people paid for their children to be admitted into top universities. We also see how wealthy people buy political power through lobbyists in order to push policies that will keep power in their hands. Most of the legislation that passes Congress is heavily influenced by corporate lobbyists and billionaires who have a ton of money at stake. Unfortunately, this political machine is a great example of how the wealthy utilize their power that their inherit in order to further separate the income classes. Having a state income tax combats this.

Many who disagree with the argument that Texas should have a state income tax will say that taxation is theft, and that taxation devalues the economy by depriving people of paying for more goods. However, Texas absolutely needs an income tax if the state government will be able to offer people on the brink of poverty more help. The issue of income inequality is becoming much more important as the middle class shrinks. Texas should try to address this issue by implementing a tax system. Furthermore, the tax system doesn’t have to be as progressive as other states, but it should be able to supply the state government with ample resources to put out more programs for those who are disadvantaged and also for disaster relief. Moreover, the state government can be creative with the tax system using something that many call a flat tax. While this rate does not do the best in terms of creating more equality between wealth classes, it is still the right step in the direction and the most feasible.

Texas is a highly conservative state and implementing a flat tax would definitely be more realistic than implementing a progressive tax. Texas should try to entice businesses to pay a state income tax as well, as the federal government just cut the corporate tax rate by 14%, which is quite a bit. Texas can work with this by increasing state business taxes in order to take advantage and come out with more funds on a yearly basis (Hall 1).

  • Franzini, Luisa, John Ribble, and William Spears. “The effects of income inequality and income level on mortality vary by population size in Texas counties.” Journal of health and Social Behavior (2001): 373-387.
  • Hall, Robert E., and Alvin Rabushka. The flat tax. Hoover Press, 2013.
  • Kuznets, Simon. “Economic growth and income inequality.” The American economic review (1955): 1-28.