Reaping the bitter fruits of rotten governance

Reaping the bitter fruits of rotten governance

The second session of the 55th Oklahoma Legislature adjourned this past Friday amid an abundance of sunshine pumping from those in the majority party of how they passed a budget before their deadline. The outlook for a great number of the state’s citizens is increasingly more grim as so many less affluent bore the brunt of state budget cuts.  As I wax philosophical while reflecting on the results of the Republican majority legislature’s work this past session I long for a policy like the catch phrase of popular vacation spots such as Las Vegas, you know, something like “What happens under the Capitol Dome stays under the Capitol Dome.”  Sadly, we non-conservatives have to suffer the consequences of the last few elections along side those who voted for this group in charge that insists on crafting legislation and public policy according to their rigid and uncompromising ideology.

Oklahoma Capitol Dome

After five full years of Republican control of the Governor’s Mansion and both bodies of the legislature there is one undeniable result that completely refutes one of the basic tenants of Conservative fiscal orthodoxy since Reaganomics became policy in 1981, that being tax cuts DO NOT increase revenue.  One more time boys and girls:

TAX CUTS DO NOT INCREASE REVENUE!!!

Knowing they were confronted with a $1.3 billion budget shortfall, GOP leadership elected to worry with the budget issue last after passing things like putting greater than 3.2 volume % alcoholic beer in grocery stores, passing the most draconian anti-abortion bill in history (which was fortunately vetoed), passing a resolution to impeach President Obama (in spite of him having only eight more months in office and approval numbers in upper 40s) and debating ad nauseum on where transgendered school students could do their bathroom business.  I found myself wondering if our legislators did not have such a problem with priorities would there be such a budget crisis?

Priorities

After approving a $6.8 billion appropriations bill on the last day of the session, it was clear that some got the short end of an already shortened stick and those calling the tune escaped disproportionately unscathed.  House Democrats had hoped to send the legislature into a special session but passage by a margin of one vote saved the GOP majority the humiliation.  Appropriations and Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Earl Sears (R-Bartlesville) assured his critics that the provisions of HB 1616 could get the state through another year.  The real losers in this deal were next session’s legislators.  Much of the smoke & mirrors used to close the $1.3 billion budget hole were one time funding measures which included $200 million in transportation bonds and $144 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund.  If it was such a pain to put together a budget this time, I wonder what it is going to take next time?  Higher education is taking nearly a 16% cut for next year as compared to its current funding.  Low income families are going to lose around $150 a year thanks to a refundable portion of the state earned income tax credit saving the state around $29 million.  Some of the winners were the Oklahoma Health Care Authority that got a 2% increase in funding compared with the current year’s, this after OHCA threatened a 25% Medicaid provider rate cut earlier this year.

By session’s end the GOP sunshine pumpers were proud of themselves for bridging the budget gap without increasing taxes.  Now that the legislative session is over those not thanking their lucky stars they are term limited can head back to their districts and sell to all their happy-faced constituents the notion that their body did a first rate job and that letting their kids take one day off from school every week, working two and three jobs to pay for health insurance, doing $1000+ a year worth of damage to our vehicles from driving on roads that look like they were used for artillery practice and rolling with the tremors spawned by injection well “freedom quakes” is authentically Oklahoman and we are all living the dream!  I frequently get reminded by certain work associates of the conservative persuasion that you can’t fix stupid.  This is one point on which I must agree.  You can’t fix stupid but you sure the hell can vote it out of office!  For all challengers to sitting incumbents I exhort them to use liberally my core message:  governing is a results based endeavor and RESULTS MATTER!!!

rottenfruit2

1 Comment

  1. Eldred Fuchs
    May 31, 2016

    Conservatives have a new slogan: tax cuts make the petunias prettier.
    Could work