Editorial: Don’t raise taxes as revenue rises

It’s hard to make a case that Oklahoma’s state government needs to raise taxes.

In December, the state treasurer reported that state revenues surged by 12 percent. That’s a big jump.

In fact, in 2017, state revenues rose by 6.2 percent. That’s great. It is probably due in part to the new economic optimism engendered by President Donald Trump and the war on needless government regulation and its impact on the energy industry.

December tax collections in December of 2017 were up by $107,900,000.00 compared to December 2016. Last year, Oklahoma collected $11.45 billion – about $667,600,000.00 above the 2016 total.

“What a difference a year can make,” said State Treasurer Ken Miller said. “At this time last year, calendar year gross receipts were down by more than 7 percent with every major revenue stream showing contraction. This year, we show across-the-board growth with an encouraging trend line.”

This is good news for most Oklahomans but bad news for liberal Democrats, fiscally liberal Republicans and Gov. Mary Fallin. They generally want to raise taxes by more than a billion dollars a year to counter a mythical shortfall. What they really want it to grow government and they have used a cyclical downturn (with the help of the liberal media, including the Tulsa World) to try to justify massive tax increases.

The numbers say otherwise.

State agency bureaucrats are wringing their hands because they wanted higher taxes and no-holds-barred public financing. That will be a hard case to make when the Legislature reconvenes in February and the hard figures show that no tax increases are needed.

That is bad news for the big spenders but good news for the rest of us.