Taxes: An Epic Switcheroo

An Epic Switcheroo

It is scarcely news when an elected official betrays a campaign pledge to oppose new taxes. But when a politician who campaigned against higher taxes winds up imposing the biggest state-tax hike in U.S. history instead -- that is news. Republican Governor Bill Clements of Texas managed that epic switcheroo last week. To balance a budget hard hit by declining revenues from the state's oil and gas industries, he signed tax increases totaling $5.7 billion.

New levies include a rise in sales tax (to 6% from 5 1/4%) and a $110 occupational tax on doctors and other professionals. But taxpayers in...