Letters to the Editor: December 9, 2015 

Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to jchancellor@okgazette.com or sent online at okgazette.com. Include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

Blame W.

Tom Furlong wrote that, “Obama has saddled us with debt greater than all other presidents combined” (Commentary, Letters, “Social Insecurity,” Nov. 18, Oklahoma Gazette).

I have never heard a Republican criticize President George W. Bush for cutting taxes while launching two wars — wars that were paid for with Chinese credit debt, handed off to Obama.

Nor have I heard Republicans ask how, after eight years of Bush’s administration, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission could have failed to foresee the collapse of the ponzi scheme Enron corporation or the 2008 economic crash, the most catastrophic recession since the Great Depression.

Never mind that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are commonly called “mistakes” and are considered by Middle East experts as having created the conditions giving rise to ISIS.

Obama was supposed to fix all that with Republicans in Congress opposing virtually every move he made.

— Nathaniel Batchelder,

The Peace House

Oklahoma City

Tax cuts, stupid

Yes, Oklahoma, the inscrutable “thinkers” at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) are at it again, this time railing against a badly needed sales tax hike to fund education, calling the proposed vote of the people an “unconstitutional money grab.”

They also weep buckets for the poor (uncharacteristically), noting that Oklahoma will have the highest combined state and local sales tax rate in the nation if it passes. What they oh-so-conveniently neglect to mention is that because we exempt a lot of services that other states tax, we rank 34th in total per capita sales tax collected, $636 versus $948 in Texas, $982 in Kansas, $956 in New Mexico and $954 in Arkansas (Tax Foundation). The $600 million in extra revenue from the proposal would take us to $786 per capita, exactly the national average.

That still leaves us below the national per capita average for income tax $899 vs. $730 for Oklahoma, and property tax, $590 vs. a national average of $1,428.

You reap what you sow, and the past decade of foolishly slashing income taxes has cost the state over $900 million in revenues, about the same as the projected deficit this year, so it’s the tax cuts, stupid. We already rank near the bottom in per-pupil funding and teacher pay, and Gov. Mary Fallin and her ditsy crowd can’t wait to drive another nail into public education’s coffin.

OCPA, as usual, believes the state can somehow conjure up the $284 million to fund teacher pay raises without hiking taxes.

But here’s the rub; Oklahoma’s per capita state and local spending (minus federal grants) of $6,396 is far lower than the national average of $8,186, and most surrounding states. We would have to raise total spending $1.37 billion to match Texas, $6.7 billion for Colorado, $4 billion for New Mexico and $5.36 billion to equal the inane Kansans, whose governor cut income taxes in 2012, then agreed to jack up the sales tax after the budget imploded, claiming it really wasn’t a tax hike.

Dear OCPA, please shut the $$^&(*% up and let the people vote.

— D.W. Tiffee

Norman

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