By OCPAC’s John Michener
Legislators Still Don’t Get It. Washington may be a swamp, but we have a Marble Pork Pen at 23rd and Lincoln. Revenue shortages are not the problem; borrowing and spending are the problem. It is time to trim the fat and fry some bacon, but our legislators still don’t get it. Here are three recent examples.
One strategy that legislators use to hide their wasteful spending is to raid a dedicated fund and use the money as general revenue. Then they turn around and claim we have a shortage in the dedicated fund for which they need to raise taxes. The state highway fund is an easy target because everyone wants to fund roads and bridges. Since 2010, the state has redistributed around $840 million from transportation to other areas. Look what happened last week.
Representative Steve Vaughan (10% Conservative), chair of the House Transportation Committee, wants to raise the motor fuel tax by six cents per gallon on both gasoline and diesel. To support the tax hike, Rep. Vaughn is resorting to scare tactics, claiming that not to raise gas taxes is “a public safety issue.” He also claims that rural areas will not benefit from good paying jobs because businesses will not want to locate themselves in places “where our transportation infrastructure is crumbling and no one is willing to do anything about it.”
Rep. Vaughn, the people are willing to pay taxes for good roads, but they are not willing to cough up another nickel as long as the Legislature keeps stealing the funds to pay for wind farms, movies, pop-culture museums, and Thunder basketball salaries. If and when protections are put in place to ensure that gas taxes are actually used for roads and bridges, then we can discuss whether or not additional revenue is actually needed.
In a message to her colleagues last week, Representative Tess Teague (9% Conservative and OCPAC’s RINO of the Year) suggested that Republicans explore increasing the capital gains tax in Oklahoma. Just a few weeks before that, Teague announced she would introduce the Aerospace Commerce Economic Services Act. These are perfect examples of the tax-and-spend problem we have at the Marble Pork Pen.