The Governor's Podium

Friday, August 18th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

By Frank Keating, Governor of Oklahoma
e-mail Frank Keating.

If you live anywhere near Texas, you may have seen some of your neighbors migrating south of the Red River on a recent weekend to do their back-to-school shopping.

Why? For the second straight year, Texas had a sales tax holiday for two days. No one knows how many millions of dollars in retail sales Oklahoma merchants lost on those days, but there were reports that people were driving to Dallas or Gainesville from as far north as Oklahoma City to take advantage of the savings.

So why doesn't Oklahoma have a similar sales tax holiday to help parents save as they equip and clothe kids for school? The Legislature didn't pass it.

Rep. John Sullivan, a Tulsa Republican, introduced a bill to create a fall sales tax holiday in Oklahoma. As is common in a too-partisan Legislature, that bill was promptly "hijacked" by a Democrat. It even passed both Houses of the Legislature, but when the session ended it was still stuck in a conference committee.

Some of our Democratic leaders in the Legislature aren't too comfortable cutting taxes. As I've said before, it's like pulling teeth without anesthetic to ask them to turn loose of even a dime of tax dollars.

In a related story, the GOP in Congress passed a bill to eliminate the unfair marriage penalty that makes married couples pay more federal income taxes.

President Clinton vetoed it. He said it "favored the wealthy," which I guess means that everyone who is married is rich.

Some people just never figure it out -- tax dollars belong to you, not to the government. And low tax rates promote economic growth and prosperity. That's why all those Oklahomans were shopping in Dallas earlier this month.

You'll also remember that a major Oklahoma company moved its corporate offices to Texas -- which has no personal income taxes. Yet some of our liberal lawmakers still refuse my plans to cut state income tax rates. They say it's "wasteful."

Go figure.