Oklahoma Senate Shows Rare Glimpse of Fiscal Sanity
9:27 AM EDT on April 9, 2021
Maybe it's because I'm not a right-wing ideologue with a warped mind, but I'm actually old enough to remember the 2018 Oklahoma Teachers Strike.
Remember that thing?
It occurred a long long time ago, when – after years of draconian budget cuts and funding crises – our state lawmakers' obsession with underfunding Oklahoma government finally came back to bite them (and us), and they had to do things like raise taxes on cigarettes, gasoline and even natural resource extraction to increase education funding and get those greedy, selfish teachers a long-deserved pay raise. You know, a great time in Oklahoma history when the national headlines coming out of our state were like this or this or this.
Anyway, I guess the one lesson lawmakers from the Oklahoma House took away from those ancient times is that we should repeat our mistakes as quickly as possible.
Thanks to an influx of federal funding due to the pandemic, the Oklahoma House recently passed legislation that would dramatically lower corporate and personal income taxes, and in the process, set the stage for the great Oklahoma Teachers Walkout of 2028.
Via The Oklahoman_:
The Oklahoma House on Thursday passed two tax reform measures introduced by House Speaker Charles McCall.
A proposal to reduce personal income tax garnered bipartisan support, largely because the bill included language to reinstate the refundable aspect of the earned income tax credit.
House Republicans also overwhelmingly approved a bill to phase out over five years Oklahoma’s corporate income tax, which McCall described as “a bold idea” to attract more businesses to the state.
“Oklahoma is on the short list in the race for jobs,” he said in a rare speech from the House floor. “We have made progress, but we are not winning the deals. These bills help get Oklahoma off the short end of the short list.”
Yeah. That's right! As opposed to keeping a little extra cash on hand, or investing federal revenue back into our state, cutting income taxes for corporations and wealthy individuals is obviously the sane, fiscally responsible thing to do right now. It's not like we're living in uncertain times or anything. Plus, let's be honest here – what corporation wouldn't want to move to a state that can't even provide the most basic, fundamental services to its people in exchange for lower taxes?
Normally, you'd think a bill that hurts the poor and helps the rich would fly through the Oklahoma Senate like a funny Q-Anon meme, but in a rare move of pragmatic, non-ideological thinking, the Oklahoma Senate is actually going to hold off on it.
Check out this madness:
The leader of the Oklahoma Senate does not support legislation to phase out the state’s corporate income tax over the next five years.
Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, said there is not widespread support in the Oklahoma state Senate for the proposal from House Speaker Charles McCall, meaning the hotly debated tax cut legislation is unlikely to succeed this year.
“We’re living in a time that’s uncertain financially, having come through COVID,” Treat told reporters Thursday. “We’re sitting very nicely financially as a state, but I need to remind you that we cut the (state) budget by $1.3 billion last year.”
Wow! Look at that! We have sane, pragmatic thinking coming from the mouth of an Oklahoma State Senator! Is everything okay over there? Do we need to make sure Bill Gates hasn't taken control of Treat's mind and body through a microchip from a Covid vaccine?
It was only a few years ago the Legislature struggled to raise more than $500 million in taxes to fund teacher pay raises, Treat said.
“I was here three sessions ago when we had the teacher walkout and we efforted together to be able to come up with the revenue to be able to pay our obligations," he said. "I do not believe, nor does my caucus believe, that the corporate tax cut is appropriate at this time."
Once again, what's going on in the state senate? They're making so much sense that this has to be part of a trap or prank TV show. Next week, expect them to add the corporate tax cuts to a bill about hog farming and pass it at midnight while nobody's looking.