It's a Madhouse! A Madhouse! - April 27, 2014
State Representative David Perryman
“This is Commander Taylor, Astronaut. He lands in a world where Apes are the rulers and Man the beast. Now he is caged, tortured, risks mutilation. Because no human can remain human on the Planet of the Apes.”
So says the tagline for the 1968 screenplay starring Charlton Heston.
During an early scene in the movie, Heston’s character, George Taylor, who has been jailed, disturbs his guard, Julius, an ape who has been working on a crossword puzzle.
Julius, angered because his concentration has been broken, grabs a fire hose and aims the high pressure water stream at Taylor causing him to scream in pain, “IT’S A MADHOUSE! A MADHOUSE!”
While there are no apes at the Oklahoma State Capitol, there is little evidence that reason or logic carry any weight toward a legislative agenda. According to the Associated Press, “Oklahoma’s oil patch is booming, its capital city is thriving and the unemployment rate is falling through the floor, testifying to the state’s roaring recovery from the recession.”
Unfortunately, while the state is joining the rest of the nation in recovering from severe recession, Oklahoma’s recovery is different.
This session alone, tax breaks, tax cuts and tax credits have been handed out like cotton candy.
According to the state budget office, in 2007, 55% of state revenue went into the General Revenue Fund. Today, that percentage has dropped by 20%. As a result, funding for education, public safety, corrections and programs that benefit children have been slashed.
Oklahoma’s schools have suffered deeper cuts over the past six years than the educational systems of any other state. Instead of properly funding education, Oklahoma has, according to State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones, made too many promises of tax breaks. Auditor Jones says that estimate corporate tax revenue numbers continue to drop.
In June 2013 the estimated corporate tax revenue was $481 Million. That number was revised in December to $375 Million and as of February 2014 the estimates have decreased another $68 Million to only $307 Million with no revenue in sight to fill the $174 Million hole.
Governor Fallin said this week that the estimates came from a single economist and she believes that more than one economist needs to be making those predictions. Unfortunately, the clock cannot be turned back.
Oklahoma’s grade for long range planning and budgetary foresight ranks near the bottom when compared to other states. Nowhere is that lack of planning more evident than the Oklahoma Legislature’s antics this session. To fill a budget hole and address the needs of the state’s core functions, a bill has been sent to the Governor cutting income tax.
It would seem logical that if Oklahoma has enough excess funds to cut taxes, it shouldn’t have to borrow money to repair the capitol building!
In Planet of the Apes, Charlton Heston’s character has a line that says, “Well, at least they haven’t tried to bite us.” I wish that we could say that about those who inhabit the hallowed walls at 23rd and Lincoln in Oklahoma City.
Thank you for allowing me to serve as a State Representative. If there is anything that I can do to assist you, call me at 405-557-7401 or email me at David.Perryman@okhouse.gov. I look forward to hearing from you soon.