What Are the Options?

Now, speaking as a Republican, there are a few things we can try. There is deregulation. Sure, that will help teachers not hate their lives so much, but won’t actually solve the budget problems. I mentioned cannibalizing other state programs, but that isn’t going to solve the deficit. I also mentioned raising taxes, but how and on whom? Most of those avenues would have unintended consequences we don’t want either and won’t solve the budget crisis. We could try to bring in new business. Duh. But to solve the problems of the state we are going to have to bring in manufacturing on a massive scale. For that to work, we’d have to revamp our infrastructure to support it, and then we would still be cut-rate compared to the natural competitive advantages for other parts of the country, or even planet, due to our geography. So even if we could solve that problem, it would be a few decades down the road before we saw the realized gain from it.

We could also increase taxes. Everybody loves that. Except what good would it do? What we relied upon was income tax from all the people working the wells. Now the wells are in the ground and we don’t need the labor, so what good is an income tax increase? Tax the oil subsidies themselves? Maybe, but at some point, you drive out the business and you can dig shale in a lot of places other than Oklahoma. Just a note on history, Oklahoma used to be a world leader in the growing and manufacturing of cotton around the 1940’s and 1950’s. Not anymore. Wonder if there is something to be learned there. We could also amend the Oklahoma Constitution to allow for a higher real estate tax. That works great for Texas. I don’t know why we don’t here.

Of course… we could also talk about illegal immigration.

This is part of a series on Education in Oklahoma:

Start at the Beginning

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