( – promoted by OKWatchdog)
Budget cuts are already having a painful impact on state government, but the worst is yet to come.
The state must make due with some 25 percent less in revenue than before the economic downturn took hold. This amounts to an $800 million to $850 million shortfall for the upcoming budget year, the Oklahoma Policy Institute predicts. Revenue may not recover to 2008 levels until 2013.
State agencies already have made across-the-board cuts, and the dismal picture means they likely will have to make additional cuts of up to 12 percent.
Hundreds of concerned Oklahomans will rally Wednesday at the state Capitol to demand common-sense solutions to the state’s budget crisis without raising taxes or crippling vital services.
Legislators must understand now is the time to make the tough choices they signed on for when they sought public office.
Oklahomans deserve an honest look at what can be done before nursing homes, public safety, education and health care are further harmed.
If you are in Oklahoma City and are available, please consider attending the rally.
What: “Solutions for the Life of Oklahoma!” rally
When: Wednesday, May 5, at 10 a.m.
Where: Oklahoma State Capitol, 1st floor
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP. T-shirts cost $5 each.
The Oklahoma Policy Institute has done a super job tracking the state’s budget woes and offering realistic solutions.
* Eliminating the deduction of state income taxes
* Revisiting the vendor sales tax discount
* Taxing Internet and other out-of-state sales
* Examining tax credits and their effectiveness
By far the largest category is tax credits. With the state budget in shambles, now is the time to take a critical look.
Consider this: The state appropriated slightly less than $7 billion in 2008, OKPolicy reports. That same year, the state granted at least $5.6 billion in tax credits, deductions and other reductions in taxes that otherwise would have been paid.
The Legislature has had little stomach for addressing tax credits, which have grown tremendously in recent years. Although some of these tax credits have been successful, others amount to little more than unchecked corporate welfare and deserve to be scuttled.
While these suggestions wouldn’t close the state’s budget hole, they would make cuts less painful. These and other ideas will be the subject of Wednesday’s rally.
Regardless of whether you attend or not, please consider calling your elected officials to tell them how you think they should address the state’s budget problems.