The three stooges – Fallin, Schulz, and McCall – have reached a budget agreement, which would lead us to ask: just what have they been doing for the past month? It’s just a rehashing of the same thing they’ve been trying to force onto us for the last few years.
It includes that $1.50 cigarette tax, an increase of the gasoline tax, possible new taxes on alcohol, and a $1,000 raise for state employees and $3,000 for teachers, annually.
Personally, I would be okay with a slight tax increase simply to patch the hole, or many a more significant one to patch the hole and crease a more sustainable budgetary basis. However, this plan is not that: it not only raises taxes, but brings us exorbitant new obligations that we might not be able to meet in the future.
Perhaps we can make them, but in a few years you’ll see another round of demands for teacher raises, because this one will be taken for granted. Taxpayers (and perhaps the legislators) will forget about the tax increase and we’ll be subject to another round of this.
That is, assuming this passes the legislature unscathed. I have a feeling it won’t, especially with such a large cigarette tax; it wouldn’t necessarily be enough for smoking voters to jump the aisle, but I don’t know if legislators want to take the risk. It goes without saying that it would hurt businesses along the border of the state, and that may certainly be a problem politically in those areas.
Tl;dr? You know you are going to see more expenses in the next year, that you’re not going to be able to pay for. So you ask for a raise. You get it, but immediately go on a shopping spree in the mall. That’s all this is.