Bob Hope, king of the one-liners, once claimed that Lassie was planning on running for public office. "She's learning to bark out of both sides of her mouth," he quipped.
Our own political dog, House Speaker Todd Hiett has learned to woof it both ways. Recently, the state finance director informed the Board of Equalization that Oklahoma revenues estimated to increase 12.9% above the 2005 fiscal year. Hiett barked, ere, said that we should hold the line on spending so as to not make committments we could fulfill in the future.He is right with this. The present boost in revenues is due to increases in oil and gas revenue, and we have learned through hard experience how what is given to us by the oil patch one year can be taken away the next.
However, from the other side of his muzzle Hiett then said that the state should committ itself to "permanent tax relief" through income tax reductions and the elimination of the estate tax, which affects only estates of the ultra rich in Oklahoma. Great move, Todd, this will only asssure us that when the next downturn hits us, as it inevitably will, we will be worse off than we ever were before.
We really aren't having all that much of a boom in Oklahoma. We are really only just now climbing out of the doldrums we have been in since near the beginning of this century. As Senate leader Mike Morgan wisely said, "[I]t is important that we move forward responsibly and take great care as we consider how best to invest this one-time windfall to ensure a brighter future for our state."
Todd, you can't have it both ways. Both permanent spending and permanent revenue reductions are bad for Oklahoma.