The daily news(?)paper in Tulsa has a couple of regular items on page 2 each day that are anecdotal but also informative and interesting. In a recent issue, the small item titled, “Will Rogers says,” read: “I see by the papers that they are going to do away with all the nuisance taxes. That means that a man can get a marriage license for nothing.” – Dated January 27, 1924.
Well, it seems to me that the state should not even be in the marriage license business since marriage is a situation created by God. Throughout history, for the Jewish and then Christian faith, marriages were from the church and records of same were kept in the records of the individual churches (and family Bibles after the printing press was invented).
In the last few years, information came to me that the State of Oklahoma did not issue marriage licenses until several years after statehood in 1907, the year in my memory being 1913 (but don’t try to take that to the bank).
Another piece of information received was that the final state in the Union (Maryland – one of the original 13 colonies) began to issue marriage licenses in 1936. In my mind this falls into the area of a “nuisance” tax, despite the claim from the legal business that it provides a protection for the women. If that were actually true, then what about the “common law” status for couples who have lived and acted together as husband and wife for years and are given marriage status in law?
The existence in recorded records of a marriage license can be detrimental to the financial well-being of widows whose husband had earned a substantial or sufficient benefit for his widow to live on. In most cases, the widow has certainly deserves that benefit by her loyal assistance to her husband’s efforts.
However, for many (if not most) companies, if the widow remarries, the benefit is terminated. This being the case, many older people facing this situation either marry only in their church, with private vows, or just move in together and live as a married couple. I am aware of some more compassionate clergy who will be happy to perform a marriage in these cases without a marriage license. This leaves no record in the courthouse that there is a marriage and the benefit can continue.
On another tack, there is an uproar going on in the courts and legislatures over “same-sex marriages,” the demand for which is a total slap in the face of those of us who follow the God-given style of “marriage being between one man and one woman.” If there were no government-issued marriage licenses, it would then be up to the churches to determine the terms of marriage.
Actually, marriage is a contract entered into by a couple and the word marriage, in my opinion, should not be applied to other than the union of man and woman. Others are certainly free to enter into legal contracts to suit their own circumstances and live accordingly. Certainly there are numerous other such “nuisance taxes” being imposed on citizens, many of which cost more to issue than the money collected.
On the other end of the business are the numerous, in Oklahoma and probably other states, instances of tax favoritism are shown to some politically correct businesses, such as the wind and solar electric companies.
Also, it came to my attention just last week that in Oklahoma there is a gross production tax levied on oil producers of 7 percent and that 5 percent is refunded to those producers who have drilled and are producing horizontal wells. Ostensibly, this rebate is to offset the costs of development of the method, which have long since been recaptured.
The State Auditor and Inspector, Gary Jones, has stated that an end to this special treatment would result in additional revenue of, if memory stays accurate, $320 million per year. That amount would completely obliterate the stated revenue shortfall of $216 million for FY 2018. In looking at my very first oil run check, which was for overriding royalty, for the months of October, November and December, 1954, the posted price was $2.83 per barrel, and after the Nebraska tax and landowner royalty, my net was $2.70 per barrel. At that time there was a “pipeline proration” of 125 barrels per well per day because of the market demand.
In the 1980s and 1990s, our production in Oklahoma was about $15 per barrel and now the lottery price in the markets varies between $40 and $50 per barrel. All my operated production was happily sold in 1999.
Hopefully the Legislature will come into some backbone and common sense and make major corrections in these plus other wasteful spending.