BY DAVID PERRYMAN
This week marks the deadline for bill filing in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Accordingly, there will be more than 1,000 bills filed addressing hundreds of issues facing our state. Most will be earnest attempts to fix problems affecting Oklahoma citizens.
Some bills will be attempts to cut taxes and others will be fashioned to cut spending. A large number of bills will be attempts to reduce the size and role of state government. Some lawmakers will repeat the phrase, “We want you to keep more of your money,” ad infinitum.
We are blessed to live in the United States where we are able to claim money as our own. Our economic system is designed to allow people to keep more of their money. Any way you dice it, the money that you have is your money and in this country, you have a right to keep it, multiply it, save it, bury it, spend it, burn it, waste it, or even give it away.
Sometimes there are differing opinions on how to best keep one’s money.
For instance, in Oklahoma, you might be able to keep more of your money if you weren’t required to purchase new tires or have your wheels re-aligned because of the horrible condition of our roads. That is a “hidden tax.” Perhaps the best way for you to keep more of your money is to prudently spend enough money to keep the roadway in good shape and free of hazards and debris.
Likewise, as a business owner, you might be able to keep more of your money and even make more if sufficient funds were allocated to educate and train your employees to perform the work that is necessary for you to prosper. Hidden tax.
You might even take that prosperity to a new level if your employees had health insurance so that they would be healthy enough to come to work on a regular basis. Hidden tax.
Profits could potentially go through the roof if their children were also covered and your employees did not have to miss work to take care of a sick child. Hidden tax.
Rural Oklahoma is a great place to raise children. It could also be an ideal location to start a business. However, when adequate fire protection is lacking, residents and business owners often cannot afford the cost of insurance.
In addition to the firemen, adequate fire protection requires well-equipped departments and dependable water infrastructure. They are not cheap, but essential.
The list could go on and on, but the rule is the same. An automobile that is well cared for with regular oil changes and preventive maintenance will last much longer than one that is “ridden hard and put up wet.”
Several ads and adages reflect this truth. “You can pay now, or you can pay later” or “For want of a nail the kingdom was lost.” All hidden taxes.
Most economists agree, within reason, that tax cuts can deliver economic growth. That is a concept to which I subscribe so long as the savings find their way back into the economy. Excessive taxes and wasteful governments are a bane to prosperity.
Today in Oklahoma, however, we have thousands of working Oklahomans and their families who are unhealthy with no access to affordable health care, rural hospitals that are running in the red. Currently, conditions outside the metro are not conducive to economic development and any improvement that we have seen is precariously clinging to the teetering energy industry.
Oklahoma’s mental illness numbers are in in the top five in the country, our education funding is in the bottom four and we incarcerate more of our citizens than all but two other states.
It is your money. How do you want to spend it?
– David Perryman, a Chickasha Democrat, represents District 56 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives