Mary Fallin and her band of Oklahoma lawmakers have done a bunch of stupid, harmful things to the state in recent years. For example, in the early part of this decade, while Oklahoma was facing another budget crisis, lawmakers passed OCPA-crafted, Oil Overlord-approved income tax reduction legislation. The law would gradually lower the state income tax rate in yearly increments if certain thresholds were met, with the ultimate goal of eliminating the state income tax altogether by the 2020s.
Obviously, the plan failed and backfired. Now, one of the original proponents – State Rep Leslie Osborne – is admitting the whole thing was a big mistake… in a South Dakota newspaper.
Via the Rapid City Journal:
In 2012, I helped author a bill to enact triggered income tax cuts – which are future tax cuts enacted when state revenues meet certain thresholds. The bill became law. Five years later, I find myself spending most of my time as a state legislator trying to clean up what I had a large hand in creating.
Since we enacted the tax cuts, Oklahoma hasn’t experienced the promised surge in economic growth. What we have experienced are large, persistent shortfalls that have led to drastic cuts to K-12 education and other vital state services.
As we prepared to pass the tax cuts, we worked with Art Laffer and other experts to design a tax-cut trigger we believed would be foolproof. As it turned out, we were wrong. I truly believed at that time that we needed to pass the tax cuts. I now realize we didn’t have all the information we needed to enact successful tax policy.
First of all, I’d like to commend Leslie for going on record and admitting the policies that she, with the help of Mary Fallin, Glenn Coffee and others, unleashed on Oklahoma have been detrimental to our state and it’s finances. I can’t wait to see what plan she and Mary come up with to fix everything.
That being said, why is she admitting to all of this in a South Dakota newspaper? Shouldn’t she be fessing up in a local media outlet like The Oklahoman? As “the state’s most trusted news,” you think they’d jump at the chance to warn citizens about the risks of blindly following right-wing, ultra-conservative ideologies that have no connection with reality. I guess they were too busy promoting the new bad plan by the Oklahoma ruling class (a.k.a. Step Up Oklahoma) to publish it.
I am now of the belief that by using tax-cut triggers, states are setting themselves up for failure because they are setting future policy on autopilot while not truly understanding what the future holds. That’s why I’d strongly encourage Nebraska lawmakers to resist calls to adopt triggered tax cuts.
Tax-cut triggers tie our hands as policymakers. They prevent us from making decisions in real time, and with the information we need to make policy choices that best serve our state and our constituents. Why would we use triggers, when every year we can make tax changes using current data that reflects the current state of affairs in our state?
I plan to keep an eye on Nebraska this year and hope your legislators will use more caution than we did. Taking a more prudent approach to tax policy can help your state avoid the persistent problems and damage that tax-cut triggers have wrought here.
Ohhh… now I get it. Leslie Osborne is using a South Dakota newspaper to warn people in Nebraska not to make the same mistakes that Oklahoma did on tax triggers. That makes sense. Nebraskans generally only listen to people named Osborne.