NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

OKLAHOMA'S EXCESSIVE SPENDING

February 28, 2006

There's been a lot of talk lately about Oklahoma's proposed Taxpayer Bill of Rights, a constitutional amendment which would limit government growth and return excess revenues to the taxpayers, says Brandon Dutcher of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.

A statewide survey conducted in November by Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates shows Oklahoma voters support the idea by a margin of 74 percent to 17 percent.

It is worth asking why the idea is so popular. Consider how Oklahoman's taxpayer dollars are being misspent:

  • The teacher retirement benefits system now holds unfunded debt of $7.42 billion dollars, which costs taxpayers over $140 million a year.
  • Some 3,500 illegal aliens received $7.8 million in Medicaid benefits in 2004.
  • One school district spent over $41,000 per student in 2000-2001.
  • The state auditor identified $21 million in waste in the state's passenger vehicle fleet in 2004.

Taxpayers also paid for thousands of dollars worth of photographs shot by a bureaucrat's daughter, $44,000 for state officials to go to Asia and entertain leaders, $8,500 for a flag, pole and lights, and numerous $100 car washes for state employees.

When Oklahoma spends $200 every second, it is easy to see why Oklahomans support reasonable limits on state government growth, says Dutcher.

Source: Brandon Dutcher, "Your Tax Dollars at Work," Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, No. 12, December 2005.

 

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