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10 brilliant ways to solve the Oklahoma budget crisis…

mary fallin

As everyone knows, Oklahoma is stuck in the middle of a dire budget crisis. Fortunately for all of our rich friends, Governor Mary Fallin – a.k.a. the woman who can't even recite the three branches of government – now has a plan to fix it.

The Oklahoman's Rick Green covered the plan with this glorious piece of propaganda:

Gov. Mary Fallin released a plan Wednesday to fill a $1.3 billion budget hole and avert major spending cuts that would disrupt the state's health care and educational systems.

The proposal calls for a 4.59 percent funding increase for the state Education Department, a 7 percent increase for the Health Care Authority, an 8.6 percent increase for the Human Services Department and a 7 percent increase for the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Department.

Most other agencies, including Higher Education, would see a 4.5 percent cut in funding.

If approved by the Legislature, this budget would avert what many in the education and health care systems say is a looming crisis, including mass closure of nursing homes, failure of rural hospitals, firing of more than a thousand teachers and imposition of a four-day school week in many districts.

If the budget hole, created in part by the oil industry decline, is not filled, major spending cutbacks will occur.

“The Legislature has to consider we have to be careful not to cut so much to the bone that we cut core services,” she said.

Question: Does the OU Gaylord College of Journalism teach a political propaganda class? If so, is Rick Green the adjunct professor? He should be. The guy is so good at the craft that he should consider going to work for the North Korean government or Oklahoma City Thunder. Not only does he write 294 total words without mentioning what type of blood magic Mary Fallin plans on using to conjure up the money to pay for all these dreamy funding increases, but he conveniently ignores the failed tax and budgetary policies put in place under Republican leadership that helped cause the problem. Instead he places the blame "in part" on the oil industry.

Here's how he glossed over Mary's plan:

The plan relies on more than $500 million in bonds, which would fund roadwork, freeing up money for other priorities.

State Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger said that even if some of the options outlined by the governor, including the large bonding proposal, could elicit opposition, lawmakers must consider the alternative.

“At some point you have to ask yourself, ‘Do you want to do bonding for these things or do you want deeper draconian cuts?' ”

Heh. It's always funny to see establishment Republicans try to reign in the draconian Derplahoman monster they created. I hate to break this to Mary Fallin, Preston Doerflinger, and all their friends at The Oklahoman, but the same legislative body that passes draconian bill after draconian bill on social issues that openly target women, gays, minority groups and the poor probably doesn't have that big of a problem with draconian spending cuts that chop the hands off essential government services.

In addition to borrowing money to pay for things we already can't afford, which credit card companies have taught is always the best way to come up with extra money, Mary has proposed changes to the Oklahoma tax system. Don't worry rich folks, energy companies and corporations that receive tax subsidies, she'll leave you alone:

The governor's proposal also calls for about $240 million in changes to the tax system, including expanding the sales tax to cover advertising, sales of items to commercial airlines and tickets to NBA games.

It would eliminate an unusual tax feature that allows some residents to deduct their state income taxes twice.

It would cut state funding to agencies that can support themselves, including the attorney general's office, the state treasurer and the Insurance Department.

An additional $177 million in savings would be gained by limiting certain off-the-top funding, or money that is allocated outside the normal appropriations process.

Another $333 million would be gained through government accounting reforms, including putting certain regenerating agency savings into general funding.

Ha. Mary Fallin wants to tax advertising. I know the open records request we filed to learn why she turned away federal healthcare funding was annoying and embarrassing for her office, but that's the most passive aggressive thing ever. Is she also going to tax bar trivia nights and Vienna-style Oktoberfest lagers? She's trying way too hard to get me to move to Colorado. 

Not surprisingly, just about everyone at the Capitol hates Mary Fallin's plan. Outside of hiring hot legislative aides and providing subsidies to corporate interests, it's the only thing Republicans and Democrats can agree on. I think I speak for everyone involved when I ask for Mary Fallin go just step aside, go on one of her vacations, and let the competent people in the room figure out how to fix this mess.

Wait. We don't have any competent people in the room. As as result, we put our heads together at the TLO Public Policy Think Tank and came up with 10 ways to combat the budget crisis. Check them out:

hipster boo boo trailer

1. Convert the Capitol Medical Center Zone into a trailer park

Not only will this raise a lot of money (imagine how much in lot fees we'll take in when Christina Fallin crates a hippie commune), but we'll also be the only state in the country with both an oil well and travel trailer on our Capitol grounds.


santorumcampaignrally kern 2

2.Pray for rain made of money

During her tenure as Governor, Mary Fallin has twice called for our state's citizens to pray for rain. As this past week has shown, the prayers worked. Maybe next time we should ask God to shower us with gold coins, dollar bills and jobs.


Street Outlaws Racing

3. Tax illegal street racing

This would at least cover all the costs associated with closing, cleaning and repairing all the roads they use.


4. Require teachers to lease their classroom and work for tips

Republicans are big fans of merit based pay for teachers. They also love borrowing successful ideas from the private sector and implementing them in government. Knowing that, why don't we take the strip club business model and apply it to education? It's a win-win. With a tip based income, teachers will have more motivation to do a better job. Plus, we'll be able to keep our best teachers in the higher income areas where they belong.



5. Buy Kansas, remodel it and flip it to Colorado or Missouri

Kansas was all about budget crises before they cool. That's what not having an energy boom to mask archaic tax policies will do to you. Since they're way behind on bills, we should use this opportunity to buy Kansas, add a shrubbery or two, and then get Paulette or Ug to flip it for cash.


bj wexler

6. Oklahoma Education Pledge Drive

According to my sources, OETA earns something like $800-million each year via their Festival Fund Drive. Schools should adopt the same concept.


oklahoma earthquake chart

7. Tax Earthquakes

We obviously can't tax the energy companies that caused the earthquakes, because as we know, we're just fortunate to have them around and need to do everything to keep them happy. Instead, let's just tax the earthquake themselves. I'm thinking $50,000 for every point on the Richter scale.



8. Make every highway a turnpike

Wait. I forgot that every highway is already a turnpike. My bad.


marijuana colorado

9. Legalize possession, sale and distribution of marijuana




10. Designate the entire state a historic district

If you want to spur development in an area, simply classify it as a historic district. It will be gentrified and bringing in tax revenue in no time. As a result, let's just name our entire state a historic area. That's probably what Oklahoma will become anyway, once our Governor and legislatures failed policies really take hold.


Anyway, those are our 10 ideas. If you have any, share them in the comments.

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