As mentioned previously, Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma called a special session of the Legislature, which began September 25, ostensibly to cover an estimated revenue shortfall for the next fiscal year of $216 million. Also mentioned was that an email from OCPA (Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs), listed 11 items that could be altered or terminated that would reduce expenditures by an estimated $383 million, or more, per year.
Of course, implementation of those economics will probably not receive even passing consideration, let alone passage of even one – mostly in my opinion because of the largess being spread around by the various special interests involved which just might be forced to enter the realm of private business competition to operate at a profit and end government benefits. There has been far too many (especially federal) grants for “renewal energy” that have just disappeared into nowhere. Some of these recipients then took bankruptcy with full loss of the advanced funds.
It is assumed that every member of the Legislature also received these OCPA suggestions, but my breath is not being held in the forlorn hope that they will even be read by more than just a few of the more mentally solid members. Certainly the vast majority of the voting and taxed population have not even heard of these proposals, except maybe here, as no mention has been seen by me in any new medium. So they are being briefly presented here, without the further explanation contained in the original email.
- Medicaid enrollment audit, to discover and remove fraud and save an estimated $67 million/year.
- Cap zero emission tax credit payout at $12.5 million and save an estimated $35-plus million/year.
- Cap ad valorem wind Reimbursement at $12.5 million and save an estimated $11.67 million/year.
- Repeal the wind turbine tax exemption and save an estimated $26.67 million/year.
- Eliminate the “Hollywood subsidy” (for movie makers) and save an estimated $2.67 million/year.
- End the cigarette and tobacco sales tax rebates to tribal governments and save an estimated $4.4 million/year.
- Surplus cash withdrawal from CLAR fund and save $3 million/year.
- Transfer Spaceport Authority, OETA and J. M. Davis Gun Museum to private funding and save an estimated $2.2 million/year.
- Surplus cash has about $3 million.
- Rainy Day Fund has about $23 million.
- Use Tobacco Settlement Trust refunds ($1 billion in bank). Terminate spending and save $40 million/year.
And then, to have the icing on the cake, the September 21 issue of the Tulsa Beacon carried a page wide headline just above the front page fold that read: “State revenue growth eats away at budget deficit situation.” A table showed 5 items with two down 1.1 percent or less and three up from 5.7 percent to 37 percent for August from 2016 to 2017 for a total of $47.5 million more in one month from a year ago.
If those in the Legislature would be on the ball, they could enact most, if not all, of the OCPA proposals in a few days and go home to not spend several thousands of dollars to help in the budget situation.
Unfortunately, they will probably continue with business as usual and pass proposals to further raise taxes on we poor underpaid and overtaxed citizens. As mentioned before, the mentality in the OKC “swamp” seems to be that we make up a bottomless barrel of money sources just waiting to be milked for more largess for their wasteful and unaudited spending sprees.
Then elected officials at all levels of government will want to spend more tens of thousands or even millions on “bribes” to hopefully bring new business to Oklahoma. Actually the very best course of action would be to remove much of the nonsensical and expensive to comply with regulations and excessive taxes levied, mostly on small business, that cause prospect to decide to go to states with much more ‘business friendly’ attitudes and tax policies.
Also, any smart business executive will look at the personal tax situation before reaching a decision on whether to locate in a particular state, county or city. Unfortunately the majority of elected officials have never operated a business enterprise at a profit, so they do not understand these things.