Brake dancing with facts

State
employees, including the corrections officers and state troopers who
protect us, haven’t received a pay raise since 2006, but our
country-club Republicans allocated $7 million to needlessly remodel
Capitol legislative offices, including a conference room “complete with a
catering area and offices.”

We incarcerate over 26,000
people (27 percent for drug offenses), costing hundreds of millions and
leaving 27,000 children without at least one parent, but former Oklahoman editorial
page editor Pat McGuigan says prison reform is being “deliberately
gutted” by the governor, who “wants to kill” the 2012 Justice
Reinvestment Initiative. Our loopy Texas neighbors, no sissies on crime,
lead the nation in lowering incarceration rates and prison costs.

Brake
grumbles about higher education, but the State Chamber concludes our
public colleges and universities have an estimated return on investment
of $4.72 for every $1 of tax funding, so why has state funding gone from
38.6 percent of the University of Oklahoma’s budget in 1986 to 11.3
percent in 2012 under Republicans?

Associated Press
says Gov. Mary Fallin’s initial tax cut will save taxpayers an average
of $80 a year, a lousy $6.66 a month. Is the foul stench of excrement in
the Capitol the GOP’s legislative bowel movements, or is it the devil’s
breath from the portal to hell opened by the 666 tax cut? And do we
really need to spend $120 million to gold-plate our dilapidated Capitol
shack into the Taj Mahal? A Capitol framed by yellow crime scene tape is
pretty hilarious.

The vote that exempts all intangible
personal property will reduce revenues $72-$107 million; gross
production taxes fell $209 million because of a recent tax cut, and
state Department of Human Resources reforms will cost an extra $100
million a year. We can’t afford to lose another $237 million.

We
would have to increase state and local spending $6.6 billion to reach
the national per capita average, $9.2 billion more to match New Mexico,
Colorado $5.8 billion more, Kansas $3.7 billion, Texas $540 million and
Missouri $160 million. Where’s the beef?

—D.W. Tiffee, Norman

D.W. Tiffee

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