IGNORANCE IN THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRYAND THE LEGISLATURE IS TO BLAME
Don't you love it when individuals that are supposed to be very intelligent in a certain field can argue about a subject and leave the biggest monkey on the back of the subject completely out of the discussion? We do. In fact we like it so much that it keeps us laughing all year long. Not only is our state morally bankrupt, but it's beginning to look like it's intellectually bankrupt, on the governance side, too.
We first became interested in this story when we read this John Tidwell: An irresponsible solution for Oklahoma's budget shortfall | Other voices | tulsaworld.com. He starts his article off by saying that it's time for a dose of honesty and we would agree to a point. He does bring up the center piece of the problem. That is the tax credits given to the Oil and Gas industry. The numerous tax proposals that have been made are ludicrous. Uncontrolled spending is no reason to tax your citizens out of state. The claim that raising the taxes on the oil and gas production is something that must be done. When the citizens of Oklahoma were hurting as much as if not worse than the oil and gas companies the received nothing.
There was a counter point to the above subject here David Blatt: State giving up hundreds of millions in petroleum tax giveaways | Other voices | tulsaworld.com. He is absolutely right. Something we all must face is the simple fact that our political leaders have done a very poor job of attracting and diversifying the economy of Oklahoma. The cry here seems to be to let the one industry system that the state has been built on pay its fair share of taxes. We agree. We do have a problem with a system that seems to favor one industry and makes little to no effort to recruit other industries to the state.
Then we found this article When oil boom went bust, Oklahoma helped drillers and squeezed schools. We find this to be ironic that this article is being written on the same day that the Senate killed any hope for a pay raise for the teachers this year. There was an extensive lobbying campaign by both the oil industry and the State Chamber of Commerce for them to get this tax credit. The amount of money they are talking about is in the hundreds of millions of dollars, but folks that's just the tip of the iceberg. While our legislators are up there figuring out what taxes to and fees to raise on us every day Oklahoma Citizens, most are making the case against cutting the tax exemptions to the big dollar companies that bankroll their campaigns. That figure is a startling $2 billion dollars a year. How in the world are we allowing them to get away with it?
These are all signs of a failing state. Our legislators are no longer listening to the People. They are listening to the lobbyists out there who help them get elected. Our Governors use the Turnpikes as a way to leave a mark for themselves in state history. Governor Fallin has the dubious distinction of having been governor when the state approved enough mileage to become the distasteful title of having more turnpike miles than any other state in the union. Public input on the new mileage had no effect what so ever. The reddest state in the union is following the Democratic party line in regards to raising revenue. It is no wonder we hear more and more talk of dissatisfaction within the rank and file of the Republican Party.
Here's an idea for all of you less than know it all legislators at the state capital. A study was released by the federal government today showing that drought and all other severe and extreme weather is on the decline. That should be enough to eliminate the Department of Environmental Quality. How much would that save tax payers.
There is a simple way to make this state more business friendly also. Stop building Turnpikes. In fact the way it should work is as the current bonds used to construct a turnpike are paid off they should be turned over to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the tolls removed. Since the Governor and the Secretary of Transportation both sit on the Turnpike Authority Board, it shouldn't be that difficult to coordinate the event. The fewer roads under the fees of Turnpikes the more businesses will consider moving to Oklahoma. It needs to stop making the same few people richer than they were before the next turnpike is built.
While the two gentlemen who wrote the original articles both had valid points, those points were only valid until the legislature granted the tax credits to the industry. Both left that out and both eliminated it as a solution. They are not alone. It is our opinion that the only group in the state that is deserving of a tax exemption are our 100% Disabled Veterans. Even they don't use the benefit all the time. The only tax credit we know that they have taken action on is the Wind Energy credit. It's a start but you alleged geniuses make enough to do better than that. It's obvious in the amount of trouble you've gotten into this year.
In closing all we can say is these two commentators seem to feel that the people of Oklahoma don't understand the budget process. Their condescending attitude and lack of knowledge has made their remarks pointless. They should learn to do their homework before speaking or writing on any subject. We only needed one article to debunk them both.