Monday, April 10, 2006

Sooner state taxation: growth industry

We see where Oklahoma is now 26th among the states in total tax revenues with $6.8+ billion for 2005. That's pretty hefty for a state that has only 3.5 million people, maybe, and we're sort of counting a slew of illegals in that total. It also does not account for the Tax on Stupidity, aka casino and lottery gambling, that by our unscientific but eagle eye analysis appears to be taking off after an initial bout of playing hard to get by the average citizen.

Of course where those gambling dollars go is anyone's guess. When the Indian tribes start offering free college tuition to all children of their tribes, then we'll know that it is filtering down. Until then we reserve judgment.

But back to taxes. Oklahoma surprisingly collects more taxes than Kansas, Iowa, Vermont, Rhode Island and Delaware. Even more than West Virginia, Oregon and Mississippi.

Per capita things look a little rosier at No.34. We are nowhere near the bottom of the barrel in either category, which is the nonsense usually spouted by lawmakers whenever they start talking about the need for more taxation to meet some critical shortfall. The problem is not the money available - it's the priorities used to allocate spending. Oklahoma has one of the largest state payrolls: lots of administration going on.

Maybe it's time to take a new look at a leaner, meaner state government, freeing up funds to raise the pay for teachers, prison guards, and public safety workers. Maybe we could get a few more roads finished too.


At 4:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You might want to look at the combined combination of state and local taxes. Oklahoma tends to provide services at the state level, rather than local. i.e health depts., DHS. ect.
Part of that is due to low property taxes, (which usually go to local governments(city & county), so the state steps in and provides the service. We spend a larger percentage of our state budget on common ed, because we hold down propert taxes.
It is all about trade offs.


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