Jonathan Small, Journal Record – The 2017 legislative session is here. Based on recent events, taxpayers should grab their wallets and communicate with lawmakers often throughout the legislative session.
Due to significant declines in energy prices and the resulting contraction of energy production (which accounts for 20 percent of all private sector employment in Oklahoma), our state’s economy has struggled. As of fall 2016, Oklahoma had lost 10,800 oil and gas jobs and 11,100 manufacturing jobs over a 12-month period. Oklahoma’s economy actually officially entered a recession from 2014 to 2015, declining by $9.1 billion in gross domestic product.
Annually the Office of Management and Enterprise Services receives the budget requests of state agencies. State agencies apparently didn’t get the memo about the suffering of Oklahoma families. Rather, state agencies requested a combined $2.7 billion increase in spending. If bureaucrats get their way, taxes will increase by billions. This is no way to help a recovering economy.
The political left, some former and current policymakers, tax consumers and special interests are screaming for tax increases. The executive director of a group that calls itself Stand for Children Oklahoma called a number of job creators and Oklahoma leaders disgusting for daring to suggest that University of Oklahoma President David Boren’s proposed 22-percent state sales tax increase was the wrong way to pay for teacher salaries, especially during a struggling economy. Even after voters trounced State Question 779, the special interest group leader demands lawmakers consider raising taxes.
Read the full story at the Journal Record.