A tax cut to die for 

Fallin
claims income tax cuts will make us more “competitive,” but our economy
(fueled by federal spending and high oil and agriculture prices) grew
at the third-highest rate nationally in the past decade. Betting our
future on continued high oil prices is the definition of insanity.

Texas
is ranked No. 1 nationally as a business-friendly state vs. 23rd for
Oklahoma in CNBC’s 2012 report (in conjunction with the National
Association of Manufacturers). But Oklahoma trounces Texas in the “cost
of business” category, which includes all personal and business taxes,
ranking fourth vs. Texas’ 28th. We get crushed in transportation (Texas
is first vs. Oklahoma’s 37th), technology and innovation (second vs.
32nd), and education (26th vs. 37th).

Cutting taxes is
only going to exacerbate chronic underfunding of roads, education, and
universities while threatening funding for the mentally ill, protecting
at-risk children and seniors and the disabled. Unhealthy workers, poor
schools, low numbers of college graduates and bad roads are horrendous
economic development tools.

Oklahoma state taxes as a percent of personal income have plunged dramatically since 1982, from 7.3 to 5.2 percent.

State
and local per capita spending fell to dead last nationally in 2005, and
thanks to then-Gov. Brad Henry’s foolish tax cut, revenues are $350
million below the 2007 level. We would have to increase spending $6.6
billion to match the national per capita average, and only dreadful
Arkansas has lower regional spending.

Fallin wants to
make our tax system “flatter and fairer,” a great idea given that the
bottom 20 percent pay an effective state and local rate of 10.3 percent
vs. 4.6 percent for the top 1 percent. The poor contribute
disproportionately to the high cost of doctors’ education and college
degrees (worth an estimated $1 million) for 25 percent of the
population. But fair to Republicans always means the poor paying more
and the rich paying less.

—D.W. Tiffee, Norman

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