First, I want to commend Representative Casey Murdock on his legislation HB 1690 which was married to Speaker McCall’s legislation which would set up an audit system, auditing state agencies which saved those in Ohio $33 for every $1 spent. This has great potential in aiding Oklahomans.
However Representative Murdock and most of his colleagues in OKC are entertaining raising the cigarette tax which would take $215 million dollars from Oklahomans (HB 2372). Many are also considering capping charitable contributions with HB 2347. If HB 2347 passes it would raise taxes on hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans, stealing $187 million.
When you create a budget around revenue, it will likely come back to bite. Government can’t dictate more revenue. When government taxes more it often receives less.
For as long as state government remains bloated, more taxes/fees will not work to resolve the budget woes, but will only continue the cycle of government coming back for more like alcohol to an alcoholic.
I urge Representative Murdock and those in OKC to take the lead, not on robbing Peter to pay Paul but on cutting government waste.
A few avenues to look into (There is much, much more): #1 Eliminate ODOT appropriations to the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority saves roughly $47million
#2 3 year moratorium on agency “swag”advertising saves $39 million
#3 Repeal the “Hollywood subsidy” film Incentive saves $5 million
#4 Tobacco Settlement Reforms saves roughly $57 million
* savings items borrowed from Candidate for Governor Gary Richardson (I have not endorsed anyone in the governor’s race yet)
Remember like any household in hard times, state legislators must cut waste. Tax and fee burdens on Oklahomans are not the answer. The legislature was warned in 2015 about the coming budget crisis, yet few took notice. We are now in our second year of budget crisis. More chains of taxes/fees are not needed, fiscal conservatism is the answer.