To the Editor:
Lately, our state has been in the news regarding cuts in funding for schools. By some reports, funding per pupil has been reduced more than 20 percent between fiscal years 2008 and 2013. I am sure there is room for debate on the actual reduction, but it certainly seems that school funding is not a priority for our elected officials.
Given the importance of education, you have to wonder if the revenue is simply not there to provide the necessary funds to educate the children of our state.
We do seem, however, to have the revenue to provide significant “incentives” to companies in our state.
One of my favorite is the Quality Jobs Program that gives money to companies for hiring people that they would have hired anyway to do the work the company needs done. Seriously, would a company hire someone they didn’t need just to get a 5 percent incentive from the state? I don’t think so.
In fiscal year 2013, this program paid incentives of $78,921,081 to Oklahoma companies.
This is just one of many such programs in our state.
While there are many interesting contracts under this program, one of my favorites is the one with The Professional Basketball Club LLC. This company consists of a group of Oklahoma City executives who own both the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Tulsa 66ers.
The NBA website shows that Clayton Bennett leads this group and it includes seven other local executives. Under their Quality Jobs Program contract, they have received payments of $14,865,078 as of June 30. They receive about $3.3 million each year based on the payroll of the jobs they have created.
They haven’t created that many jobs, but all those well-paid NBA players make for high incentive payments.
So, if you think paying millions of dollars to the owners of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and many other state businesses, is more of a priority than funding our public schools then you should feel good. If you don’t think that then perhaps you should tell your state elected officials so they can do something about it.
To the Editor:
County budget issue drives away road improvements
I am interested in working with other local officials to present a town hall meeting about the earthquakes that have been torturing area residents during the past few weeks. The forum would allow local residents to ask questions of the energy sector and state geological professionals. Would you have an interest in attending an event like this? If so, please let me know. If there is enough interest, I plan to help coordinate the effort.
A bailout for Ukrainians, by Ukrainians?
Like the reigns of many corrupt leaders, that of Viktor Yanukovich ended in farce. But there’s nothing farcical about Ukraine’s situation.
Russian troops have taken over its Crimean region, and President Vladimir Putin last week said that Russia “reserves the right to use all means at our disposal to protect” Russian-speakers in Ukraine.
Los Angeles Times: Supreme Court, don’t tread on small investors
For more than a quarter of a century, investors have been able to bring class-action lawsuits against companies that have fraudulently inflated their stock prices without having to prove that each buyer of the stock had been individually duped. Now, industrial giant Halliburton Co. is trying to persuade the Supreme Court to make such lawsuits significantly harder, if not impossible, to bring. That would be a fantastic result for publicly traded companies, but a terrible one for the average investor.
HEY HINK: Obama loses vote in Democrat-controlled Senate
This week, the Senate dealt President Obama a humiliating defeat. His nomination of Debo Adegbile to head the Justice Department’s civil rights division was derailed by a 47-to-52 talley with eight Democrats among the “no” votes. This outcome is tragic for all concerned; the president, the nominee, the Senate and the American people.
CONSIDER THIS: Why does American Indian Cultural Center matter?
We can fulfill an obligation to our Native American brethren, cultures, histories and ourselves by completing the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum.
Women raise their voices for peace, security
International Women’s Day has been observed on March 8 since the early 1900s. From factory workers to abolitionists, women began to speak out against women’s oppression and inequality. They organized to demand better working conditions, equal pay and the right to vote. As 50 percent of the world’s population, our foremothers realized they had a critical role to play in the political, social and economic life of their society and it was time for their voices to be heard.
Education Savings Accounts are worth the fight
Throughout the course of a legislative session, many bills are proposed, discussed and voted on. Lots of times, good bills pass and become law. Sometimes, good bills focused on important topics do not make it to law. For one reason or another, it just didn’t receive the votes. That can even happen to measures that have widespread support.
Shotgun homes stand in Oklahoma
In 1791 a slave rebellion broke out in what was then the French colony of Haiti and over the next several years French citizens fleeing the conflict made their way to New Orleans. Those refugees brought with them traditions that were to have an impact on their new homeland.
They included the custom of constructing small homes that were one room wide and featured several other rooms behind the front one with doors at both the front and back of the structure that in time became know as “shotgun houses.” The term shotgun is said to reflect the fact that a bullet could be fired through the front door and go through every room in the house.
The Kansas City Star: Ukrainian victory turns toward tragedy
The stakes are changing rapidly in Ukraine. The people have spoken in Kiev. But now Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken more loudly.
By Sunday, Kiev’s new interim leaders charged that Russians had invaded. Putin asserted that his forces were merely protecting Russian interests in Crimea. He appeared undeterred by his 90-minute talk with President Barack Obama on Saturday, leading experts to question if Ukraine’s regime could stave off a military conflict and possible partition.
President’s budget a disappointment
Last month, President Obama filed his annual budget blueprint for fiscal year 2015. While the contents of his proposal have been a major topic of discussion in the news since then, its official release on March 4 will determine the next steps for lawmakers, who must work together to ultimately find a common agreement.
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- County budget issue drives away road improvements