By the Watchman
Senator Boren has proven to be just another tax and spend liberal Democrat sitting at the most powerful chair in the City of Norman. A city well known for its liberal attitudes and t's liberal indoctrination at the University of Oklahoma. This year they have either failed to look at the effect of a proposal or they are following the Cloward-Piven plan to ensure the destruction of the economy of the State of Oklahoma. They are not alone in failing the citizens of this great state. We can add both chambers of the legislature and the greed for money and power they seek to the problem. A true tragedy will strike this state if State Question 779 is passed in November.
The first item of interest we found was this statement "Every dollar released from taxation that is spent or invested will help create a new job and a new salary" We were unable to identify the author of that line, but it is a proven truth. All one needs to do is look at the employment rate increase after there is a tax cut that has gone into effect.
The next item of interest we found was this Legislators to Review State Tax Breaks | Oklahoma Watch. Now this occurred last year and the legislature did in fact review some of the state tax breaks. Out of the total two billion plus a year that they grant, they cut a measly $186 million. Of the ones they cut, none of them were campaign contributors. Once again the need to remain in power outweighed the cost of cutting tax cuts. The one tax break they did cut was the income tax reduction that the citizens of Oklahoma were to receive this year. Now wasn't that nice of them.
There is another aspect of the tax breaks that the legislature is allowed to issue. Those tax breaks have a sunset date of five years. Some of them have been going on for decades. There is no procedure for tracking of those tax breaks and insuring that the proper termination dates are complied with. To put it mildly, the bureaucrats have screwed the state out of millions of dollars if not billions. Nothing was discussed last session about fixing the problem and so far there haven't been any reports of hearings to discuss the tax credit problems this fall.
The next item of interest we found was this The Okie » Steve Fair: Boren Education Sales Tax Is A Bad Idea!. This article was written in January of 2016. Since then Oklahoma has fallen into an unofficial depression but the people in DC list it as a repression even after six quarters of decline. We must ask did they even consider the impact on the economy when making this proposal. Did they even consider the fact that the state's unemployment rate is higher than the national average? What company is going to want to relocate to the state with the highest tax rate in the nation? This is lunacy.
The next item of interest we found was this Oklahoma Watch: Penny increase would make Oklahoma No. 1 in sales taxes | News OK. We ask what company is going to want to relocate to Oklahoma with this hanging over them. How can this state diversify from an oil based economy to any other type of an economy when the tax structure is set so high that no company in their right mind will want to move here? We have to remember though; they claim they are doing it for the kids. How is putting all this money in the pocket of teachers doing it for the kids.
There is a dirty little secret that the school districts are keeping away from not only the public, but the very teachers that work for them. Most, if not all of the school districts in the state have savings accounts. This article here OCPA - Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs will show you what the districts started the school year 2016-2017 with. Every single district in the state has been able to afford a pay raise for their teachers from these savings accounts yet have chosen to lay off teachers claiming there was a budget crisis. There is no reason any school teacher should have been laid off because of a budget crisis this year. This is nothing more than pure unadulterated greed on the part of the school boards. If the schools don't want to spend the money, then it should be returned to the people who paid the taxes that allowed them to accumulate these sums to begin with. It's high time that we stop screwing over those that pay the bills.
The next article of interest we found was this Oklahoma City leaders' concerns about proposed 1-cent tax increase are notable | News OK. Now this is one article from one major metropolitan area in the state. Many Cities and smaller communities have raised the same questions that the city of Oklahoma City is asking. This tax will basically cause the infrastructure of all of our communities to suffer. Is a tax and spend policy really worth it. Is the financial mismanagement of the state's resources really worth it?
The next article of interest we found was this Oklahoma Watch: Education tax increase would cost average family $262 | News OK. We understand that it doesn't sound like a lot of money. There are several items that they failed to take into consideration. First they failed to consider those of us that live on fixed incomes. They were not given a raise last year and there is no indication yet that they will receive on this year. This increase could mean the difference of them eating and taking the medications they need, or choosing between the two. They also failed to take into consideration that the State of Oklahoma is currently in a technical depression. We are also listed as the second highest unemployment rate in the nation. How much worse is that going to get by adding another penny to the already high sales tax? Do they want the entire state to look like the City of Detroit?
The next item of interest we found was this article Education groups file brief supporting proposed sales-tax increase in Oklahoma - Tulsa World: Capitol Report. Now it was not unusual to see that the professional educators would support this matter. What is unusual is to find that these same professional educators failed to do the research that would have indicated that they were aware of the districts having enough money in their savings accounts to be able to afford a raise for their teachers without having to lay any of them off due to budget problems. This was done by only two means, negligence or incompetence. Either way they have no business holding the positions they hold.
The next article of interest we found was this Group hopes for sales tax increase to address teacher pay, shortage | Oklahoma City - OKC - KOCO.com. This again points to the greed of the individual districts. A coalition of educators filed to circulate the petition to get the initiative on the ballot for a tax increase. It points to the six hundred vacancies because of lack of funding. Once again we refer to the substantial savings accounts held by each school that could and indeed should have been used to hire teachers to fill those vacancies as well as give pay raises to teachers. This is making the argument for the tax increase ludicrous.
The next article of interest we found was this Proposal to Increase Oklahoma Sales Tax is Constitutional - TaxRates.com. We won't dispute the constitutionality of the tax increase. We will argue the feasibility of it. From the looks of things political ideology has taken preference over common sense here. Making Oklahoma the state with the highest sales tax will cost jobs. It will prevent new business from locating to the state. It will prevent the economy from diversifying and it will cause the young people of the state to move away. Something like this has the potential to cost us seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. All of this because our state legislators and our individual school boards have refused to accept a little pain and give the teachers a pay raise. The school boards could easily do it from their savings accounts and the legislature could do so by getting a handle on the tax credits they give out each year. In case they haven't noticed those tax credits aren't working.
The next article of interest we found is this document. We would urge you to open and read this entire document. It is State Question 779 from the beginning until it was signed by the Governor for inclusion on the ballot. In it you will discover that not all of the funds collected under this proposal will go to teachers pay raises. In fact only a portion will. It also fails to mention that the cost of living in this state is substantially lower than a lot of the other surrounding states.
The next article of interest we found was this . This is a page from Oklahoma State University's College of Education that indicates what it takes to become a teacher in the state of Oklahoma. From what we can see, the bar is set pretty low. You only need a 2.5 grade point average to graduate. It makes us wonder how many teachers we have out there with that low of an average.
The next article of interest we found was this oklahomawatch.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/files/2016/09/Voter-Guide-Final.pdf. Now we do understand the need to limit the detail due to page constraints however we do feel that they could have gone into more detail on all of the state questions. Using State Question 779 as an example, they failed to mention that by making this state the highest sales taxed state in the country, we will have an extremely difficult time drawing new business into the state. It's really going to make it hard to diversify the economy. Our graduates are going to leave the state simply because there won't be any jobs.
In conclusion we can only say that this is a well-intentioned but poorly thought-out proposal that cleared all the hurdles and made it to the ballot. There isn't a school district in the state that couldn't afford to give their teachers a pay raise yet instead of doing so the lay them off and certify emergency teachers at a lower rage. That's scandalous. The Tulsa Public Schools lay off a bunch of teachers and administrators and then gave their remaining senior staff significant pay raises. The public school system in Oklahoma is even more corrupt than both chambers of the Legislature.
Do we feel teachers deserve a pay raise, no. We are way above the regional averages once the wages are factored by the cost of living. Do we feel the citizens of Oklahoma should fork up more taxes to pay for it? Absolutely not. Let the school districts spend some of those savings they have to give the pay raises.