To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Observercast

The Reality Of Boom And Bust

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BY SHARON MARTIN

Sharon MartinWe have a problem paying all our household bills. Let’s ask our employer to pay us less. Yes, that’s the ticket.

The state has a problem paying all its bills. Ask taxpayers [especially those who benefit most from the state’s loopy tax code] to pay less.

Doesn’t make sense, does it? A lot of what Mary Fallin proposes doesn’t make sense. She’s either ripping us off or confused. Neither of these is good in a governor.

Yes, Oklahoma is doing pretty well right now in the jobs numbers. We are in the middle of an oil boom. When the oil boom is over, we won’t be doing so well, but the damage of lowering taxes will have been done.

Don’t think the oil boom can ever end? I remember a sign on the edge of Cushing at the end of the boom in the early ‘80s. Some joker posted this: “Last one out of town turn off the lights.”

Friends are making money right now. Some own restaurants. A few have put in RV parks to house the workers coming from out of state. Others have good oilfield jobs. When it’s over, whom will they blame for the bust?

They’ll blame someone. It’s hard to get angry at supply and demand; a person is easier to curse. But as the income stream from the boom dries up, whom can we blame? The fake economists who believe we can have more money for state expenses if we just cut taxes, that’s who.

There is a difference between spending and investment. Gov. Fallin may believe that we have enough to spend.

Those of us in education know that we don’t have enough to invest. We aren’t investing in public schools. We aren’t investing in mental health. We aren’t investing in health outcomes. We aren’t investing in treatment for alcoholics and addicts. We shortchange state workers and the vulnerable.

Governor, the people pay taxes in exchange for services. Even the poorest among us pay taxes in some form or another. In turn, you subsidize your wealthy friends. You lower the income tax rate that reduces the amount they pay in and the amount you have to spend on the needs of citizens.

Seriously, who told you this is a good idea? Who is pulling your strings and writing your script? What do they have to gain when the rest of us lose? And where will they be when the boom ends?

Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer

 

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Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.