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 pbacharach@okgazette. com or sent online at okgazette.com, but include a city of residence and contact number for verification.
A tax cut to die for
Gov. Mary Fallin’s $106 million-a-year tax cut proposal effectively precludes Oklahoma from spending a net $50 million annually to insure 200,000 Oklahomans under Obamacare, a coldblooded death sentence for thousands who will suffer and die from treatable medical conditions. The pro-life crowd’s road to prosperity is paved with human bones.
Fallin claims income tax cuts will make us more “competitive,” but our economy (fueled by federal spending and high oil and agriculture prices) grew at the third-highest rate nationally in the past decade. Betting our future on continued high oil prices is the definition of insanity.
Texas is ranked No. 1 nationally as a business-friendly state vs. 23rd for Oklahoma in CNBC’s 2012 report (in conjunction with the National Association of Manufacturers). But Oklahoma trounces Texas in the “cost of business” category, which includes all personal and business taxes, ranking fourth vs. Texas’ 28th. We get crushed in transportation (Texas is first vs. Oklahoma’s 37th), technology and innovation (second vs. 32nd), and education (26th vs. 37th).
Cutting taxes is only going to exacerbate chronic underfunding of roads, education, and universities while threatening funding for the mentally ill, protecting at-risk children and seniors and the disabled. Unhealthy workers, poor schools, low numbers of college graduates and bad roads are horrendous economic development tools.
Oklahoma state taxes as a percent of personal income have plunged dramatically since 1982, from 7.3 to 5.2 percent.
State and local per capita spending fell to dead last nationally in 2005, and thanks to then-Gov. Brad Henry’s foolish tax cut, revenues are $350 million below the 2007 level. We would have to increase spending $6.6 billion to match the national per capita average, and only dreadful Arkansas has lower regional spending.
Fallin wants to make our tax system “flatter and fairer,” a great idea given that the bottom 20 percent pay an effective state and local rate of 10.3 percent vs. 4.6 percent for the top 1 percent. The poor contribute disproportionately to the high cost of doctors’ education and college degrees (worth an estimated $1 million) for 25 percent of the population. But fair to Republicans always means the poor paying more and the rich paying less.
—D.W. Tiffee Norman
No doubt the Oklahoma Gazette staff member who wrote the Life article about Walt Strony in the Jan. 23 edition is still snickering at his own wit. While cheap shots and vulgarity are staples in your paper’s so-called humor content, it’s appalling that you used them to open a straight news article about an upcoming concert by an accomplished musician.
I don’t know Walt Strony, but I’m sure his talent does not deserve to be trivialized in some lame and juvenile attempt to be funny. Clearly, you have no respect for quality in either music, humor, or journalism. At the very least, you owe Mr. Strony an apology for your tastelessness.
—Rosemary Brown Oklahoma City
A story in the Feb. 6 edition on Frederick A. Douglass Mid-High School incorrectly stated that in past years, the OKC school district’s counseling office had been involved with school audits. That was not the case. Oklahoma Gazette regrets the error.
The photos for The Wurly Birds and Beau Jennings & the Tigers stories, both in the Feb. 6 edition, are the work of Nathan Poppe.
Opinions expressed on the commentary page, in letters to the editor and elsewhere in this newspaper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ownership or management.