To the Editor:
In case you haven’t heard, the governor and many in the Oklahoma Legislature want to phase out the state income tax during a 10-year period.
To pay for part of the revenue loss from this plan, the legislation will remove exemptions and deductions on personal income tax returns to include:
• All personal exemptions;
• Standard/itemized deductions based on Federal Tax Return;
• Exclusion for the portion of Social Security that is taxable at the federal level;
• Exclusions allowed for federal, state and military retirement pensions; and
• Exclusion of up to $10,000 for other types of retirement income.
It also appears that this proposed legislation will do away with the sales tax refund program for low-income families as well as the child tax credit.
This will mean that during the 10-year “phase out” period income taxes will go up for many Oklahomans. There also is no guarantee that the tax will be zero at the end of 10 years.
In addition, under the proposed legislation, the state will lose hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue each year and it is not clear what the impact of that may be.
I have read that the people who will benefit most from this proposed legislation will be those in the upper income categories, those without children and those under 65. It is clear that those who will be most affected are families with children (especially lower income) and retirees.
Oklahoma is already suffering from a lack of revenue to fund important and necessary programs. It just does not make sense to do away with state taxes, when now more than ever we need a steady revenue stream to make our state a great place to live.
It seems that some in our state just want to be able to say that we do not have a state income tax here in Oklahoma. I guess that makes for a nice sound bite or slogan, but I’d rather have a sound revenue source for our state, which will do a lot more than a sound bite to make Oklahoma great.
To the Editor:
HEY HINK: Government advice goes against centuries of examples
Of all the harebrained advice I’ve heard doled out over the years this has to be the dumbest: Sign on the dotted line and “don’t worry about the price tag.” This is precisely the message our federal government is belching out to America’s young people to persuade them to sign up for Obamacare. It reminds me of the Three Stooges episode where Moe tells Curly not to worry about the explosion because “dynamite always blows down.” The image of a grasping federal bureaucracy enticing young Americans to sign onto the most aggressive power grab in this country’s history while murmuring “don’t worry about the price tag,” is almost too far-fetched to believe. Unfortunately, it’s all too true.
Good Samaritans aid motorists during storm
Thursday afternoon, a mixture of sleet and snow fell on Edmond, creating slick and hazardous streets in parts of the city.
An example of legalized corruption
Almost one year ago, Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, asked me to assist him in bringing an end to what appeared to be a practice of legalized corruption. Having worked with Jolley on numerous modernization and efficiency measures, I have learned to pay close attention to his concerns. He frequently proposes cost-saving and efficiency reforms, and his proposals are taken seriously by the Legislature. Jolley had received reports from whistleblowers who exposed extremely disturbing abuses and he wanted to work on legislation to stop the practice.
LETTER: Student urges leaders to not wait on entitlement reform
To the Editor:
I am 28 years old and will only be just older than 40 by the time Medicare and Social Security programs are projected to fail. This is very concerning for young people like myself who are paying into this system and likely will not see any benefits from it. I 100 percent agree that some serious reform is needed to strengthen these programs. I think it is also important for lawmakers to help create laws that protect the privately insured from insurance companies dropping or disqualifying people from coverage. I believe this would help to keep many who can afford private health care from having to rely on Medicare and Social Security funds.
Grandparents of disabled child ‘now have hope’
An Oklahoma scholarship program for special-needs children is once again under attack.
“A motley crew of plaintiffs has filed a lawsuit asking the Oklahoma courts to toss out the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship for students with disabilities,” writes Oklahoma City University law professor Andrew Spiropoulos. “This renewed attempt to sever a lifeline for a small group of disabled students is vindictive because these plaintiffs know that these children suffered horribly in public schools. The program enables these children to escape an environment of bullying, ineffective instruction, and profound neglect and find specialized schools where they can blossom and reveal the beauty of their true nature.”
LETTER: Volunteers make Thanksgiving dinner successful
To the Editor:
How do you thank 711 people for helping you? On Thanksgiving Day my belief in the goodness of man and that Edmond has the most giving citizens was reinforced.
Starting on the Saturday before that day, I met the first ones as they worked diligently to clean equipment in preparation for cooking the Edmond Community Thanksgiving Dinner. More people came to three sites on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to cook and carve.
Employer mandate delayed, but Obamacare destruction goes on
Some 60 percent of Americans — nearly 160 million people — get insurance through their jobs. Thanks to Obamacare, that number is about to nosedive. The president’s signature law is hiking the cost of health insurance for American businesses of all sizes. They’re responding by dumping coverage for workers, spouses and retirees.
Even though the employer mandate, which requires all firms with 50 or more full-time staffers to provide health coverage or pay a fine, has been delayed by one year, the employer health insurance market is slowly bleeding out.
Freedom is more likely to stimulate potential geniuses than gifted programs
If high IQ scores are not reliable indicators of genius, what are? Advocates of gifted children hope schools can be designed to turn intellectual promise into world-changing creativity.
Frederick eyes its future renovation
Terence Malik is an American filmmaker who spent part of his youth in Bartlesville. He is perhaps best known for the critically acclaimed 1978 movie “Days of Heaven” that is set in the Texas Panhandle before the First World War during the harvest season. The late film critic Roger Ebert described “Days of Heaven” as “one of the most beautifully photographed films ever made” and praised Malik for evoking “the loneliness and beauty of the limitless Texas Prairie” Ebert wrote of how the characters in the film appeared to be on a land “to large for its inhabitants” and that they seemed to struggle with the “weight of the land.” And a visitor to Frederick, in Southwestern Oklahoma, where the land has a topography comparable to the Texas prairie, encounters visual images that are similar to the ones contained in Malik’s movie.
OKLAHOMA NOW: Celebrating an inspiring year in Oklahoma
Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas is on its way. This is a great time of year to reflect on all of God’s blessings and to be thankful for what we have.
Like many Oklahomans, I am thankful for my faith, my wonderful family, and my friends. I am also thankful for the opportunity to be your governor.
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