Some of the state’s most prominent Republicans from the past have just one question for state lawmakers as they work their way through a special session intended to address the state budget: W.W.R.D., “What Would Reagan Do?”
Former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, former Gov. Frank Keating and former Secretary of State Larry Parman were practically sanctimonious in a written appeal sent straight to the desks of state lawmakers begging them to not raise taxes on the state, but to further cut state and agency spending.
Channeling the words of Reagan himself, the trio wrote, “Government is the problem” and “The problem is that government spends too much.”
Ah, yes. Cut the agencies. We could be mistaken, but that sounds like the same approach Oklahoma has been trying for the last several years as the state continues to slide backward into a dark and widening budget hole.
Even Gov. Mary Fallin — not exactly a raging socialist — has said that these desperate times call for additional increases to revenue.
“Additional cuts to agencies will further harm state services. I will veto a proposal that calls for cuts to state agencies,” the governor said in a statement last month.
Part of the problem with cutting state agencies is that there would need to be something there to cut. Are Coburn and other conservative budget hawks going to volunteer their time to teach middle school health or social studies to save money on teacher salaries? Actually, that is our scariest thought yet — we like our current teachers just fine, thanks!
The letter to lawmakers blames the state’s financial hardships on “significant price declines in oil and to the failures of the Obama administration’s economic policies and regulations.”
Yeah, way to pass the buck to the Obama administration on that one. It is not like the state Legislature and executive branch have been in the iron grip of Republican leadership throughout this decline. Besides, Oklahoma is in no position to be passing bucks to anyone. Make sure to check all Capitol seat cushions for loose change.