Let’s break down $900.8 million.
We have six irresponsible tax breaks for oil and gas corporations.
A constitutional question (SQ766-Intangible Property) which stripped hundreds of millions of dollars from the state budget.
Two pitiful income tax breaks which overwhelmingly benefit the wealthiest Oklahomans.
A list of favorable tax incentives and corporate loopholes you would need an economics degree just to understand.
That gives us a $900.8 million dollar hole.
Much of which is caused by budget killing policies from Oklahoma’s lawmakers.
Irresponsible leadership at the Capitol is starving public schools and other critical services in our state.
Are we OK with this?
For a more complete (and useful) analysis of the potential funding cuts to Oklahoma public schools, read Rick Cobb’s excellent review HERE.
Gene Perry with the Oklahoma Policy Institute (OPI) also posted the basic framework for a solution on his blog yesterday:
“The projected mid-year cuts and next year’s massive budget hole threaten to deepen the injury to our economy caused by a weakening energy industry. Schools, health and safety, and other core services were already cut to the bone when energy prices were high, and we can’t make it through this emergency by doubling down on deeper cuts and one-time fixes. The only responsible path forward is to put new recurring revenue on the table and to reassess tax cuts and tax breaks that are becoming more unaffordable every day.”
If we had courageous leaders in our state, there would be an immediate call for a special session to discuss possible approaches to deal with this crisis now, instead of waiting until six months from now.
Potential solutions include an immediate suspension of the income tax reduction scheduled for next month; a complete analysis of our state’s tax credits to corporations and industry; and the complete rebuilding of a tax structure to adequately support Oklahoma’s citizens and necessary infrastructure.
If our state leaders refuse to do anything but continue to lament the low price of oil and blame OPEC, I suppose the message will be loud and clear.
THEY are okay with THIS!