If you’re like me you wonder how we can have perennial deficits when you consider: we are paying a still sizeable income tax and property taxes in addition to one of the nation’s highest sales taxes. Oklahomans are taxed to the hilt. One of the culprits affecting our budget is what I call the Good Ol’ Boy Tax. The Good Ol’ Boy Tax is a serial combination of economic baggage that you, the taxpayer, ultimately pay for: special interest lobbying, non-productive business tax incentives, inefficient government practices, and the mentality of “well, that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Unnecessary subsidies and inflated bureaucracy are extra sand bags that the pack mule of our economy can do without.
Oklahoma’s staggering $2B per year business tax incentive program consists of tax credits, rebates, and exemptions. In 2010 businesses received $356M in tax credits. Just four years later that number more than doubled to $760M! Of the $89M that was rebated through the Quality Jobs Program, $4M was directed to the OKC Thunder. As an economist I want to ensure that we carefully analyze business tax incentives and, very importantly, apply sunset provisions with measurable outcomes. As such, I support the charter of the Oklahoma Incentive Evaluation Commission, which is analyzing $475M of business tax incentives. I look forward to working with the OIEC in order to continue strategic, productive efforts and eliminate or reform the initiatives that did not work out as incepted. As your State Senator and tax dollar fiduciary, I want to ensure that we responsibly balance the budget with long term, sustainable practices. I am continuing to work hand in hand with former Senator Mike Mazzei’s efforts to reform the way business tax incentives are granted, monitored, and reconsidered.
As a fiscal conservative my goal is an overall net decrease in the amount of taxes you pay and still provide funding for core government services. My long term vision includes an overhaul of our disjointed tax system. Through careful planning and disciplined patience we can implement an efficient, economically productive, and fair system. This would include eventual elimination of the income tax at both the state and federal levels and would be replaced with the Fair Tax, with emphasis on user fees (i.e. pay for what you use). The Fair Tax would actually lower overall taxes paid and increase market efficiencies while user fees would direct payments towards consumption of public goods used. Examples of user fees include state park entrance, certain court costs, and gas tax (which is technically a user fee as 100% is used for road and bridge upkeep.) As a conservative economist I believe the best comprehensive tax approach is: no income tax (which creates a disincentive to work); a consumption-based tax (which is easy to collect and reduces the footprint of the expensive Oklahoma Tax Commission and IRS); and user fees (which is a fair way to ensure people pay for what they use.) As a business owner I understand the importance of making every dollar count; as your State Senator I will do the same.
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