The Big Issue Of The Year
It is starting to appear that one of the biggest debated issues this year will be whether or not the Legislature will approve a proposal to lessen the burden on Oklahoma's hardworking families by reducing the state income tax.
This year's state government will have millions of dollars of extra growth money to spend. While previous legislative commitments may obligate some of that money, it is important to realize that Oklahoma taxpayers have, in effect, been overcharged for government services.
Republican leadership in both the House and the Senate have made it clear that tax cuts are on the table for the upcoming session.
The majority of the debate surrounding tax relief will probably focus on returning some of the growth revenue to the people through incremental income tax reductions.
While I support this effort, it is important for the Legislature to consider massive reductions in the amount of money that the government spends, and to accompany this spending reform with significant tax relief.
I have always known there is waste in government. I have certainly seen my fair share of it as an elected official and I know about it because the people have informed me about various examples they have experienced firsthand. Common sense tells us that when any entity has a monopoly on a service, that entity will inherently tend to become wasteful and corrupt because the forces of free market competition and consumer choice are not allowed to weed out such practices.
This is why I have always felt comfortable in calling for reductions in massive spending and taxes. However, during recent days, experience has confirmed this belief more than ever.
I was asked by Speaker of the House Lance Cargill to participate in an ongoing study focusing on how wasteful spending could be reduced in state government. The resulting study documents that up to 70 million of your taxpayer dollars could be saved if just one agency were to become more efficient. Imagine how much money state government is wasting -- when just one of Oklahoma's 515 agencies, boards and commissions is costing us this much by failing to modernize their processes!
Involvement in this study has allowed me to see firsthand how an antiquated, overly bureaucratic process has been absolutely prohibitive in allowing government to function efficiently.
The massive size of government pits bureaucracy against bureaucracy in a power grab for your tax dollars. Without free market competition, there is little to entice bureaucrats to participate in becoming efficient, as they would likely see cost-reducing modernization measures as a threat to their ability to leverage money.
I am committed more than ever to seeking the best solution for shrinking the size of government and making it more efficient. That solution is to cut taxes.