Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Oklahoma's $1 Billion Hole: New State Leaders Face a Big Deficit; Drastic Cuts in Service

Yes, Sooner fans, that's One billion with a B. And it's not good news for Oklahoma and Oklahomans, who need state spending and the services they provide. 

This is not exactly breaking news, but it is a serious fiscal problem facing the governor-elect, Mary Fallin, and all those Tea Party-loving Oklahoma Republican legislators.

As Arnold Hamilton noted last week in Urban Tulsa Weekly, "Oklahoma is in serious danger of not being able to deliver the basics—from decent roads and bridges to safe and secure prisons, child protective custody to public safety."

Good point. But there's more, as Hamilton makes clear:
The Tea Party crowd doesn't want to hear this, and anti-government Republicans will duck-and-dodge if you bring it up, but if it hadn't been for big, bad Uncle Sugar's $1.4 billion infusion the last two years, the lights would have been turned off in Oklahoma.
Good thing we Sooners hate the Feds—ironically, the very folks who have bailed us out in recent months. (Thanks, President Obama. Really.)

But there is no free lunch, as Hamilton notes, and those roads, bridges, prisons, schools, etc., aren't going to magically appear.

For Republican leaders, there's danger ahead. In Hamilton's words, "hell hath no fury like taxpayers whose essential services aren't delivered."

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