Spent thinking

Above the fold in this morning’s Oklahoman:

Oklahoma taxpayers could get a small cut in their state income taxes beginning in 2016, but nobody can say whether that’s even likely to happen.

It’s all based on a complicated revenue-based “trigger” built in to the measure.

So complicated, in fact, that even state Treasurer Ken Miller, who holds a doctorate in economics, said it’s about as “clear as mud.”

“I just don’t understand the logic of a trigger,” he said Thursday. “There’s no economic reason to pass a measure today predicated on a future event, when one can simply wait for that event to occur and then preserve the flexibility. It’s difficult to explain the mechanics of the trigger and it’s certainly difficult to communicate to the taxpayers what their taxes are going to be.”

(NewsOK link once the paywall lets this through.)

But it was deemed necessary to pass the bill, because tax cuts, doncha know. Enough members of the Legislature are emotionally wedded to the concept that they’ll even pass an imaginary tax cut, just to say that they passed a tax cut. This is the next step before you get to Nancy Pelosi’s immortal utterance “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it,” which, if it isn’t the dumbest goddamn thing ever said by a legislator, is way ahead of whatever’s in third place.

Ken Miller’s a pretty bright guy. If he can’t defend this measure, it can’t be defended. Now situations like this can be avoided by the simple expedient of not passing crappy bills; however, for some reason the electorate, perhaps persuaded by the legislature — or maybe it’s the other way around? — seems to think that passing a bill is almost always better than not passing a bill, despite abundant evidence to the contrary.


  1. fillyjonk »

    29 July 2014 · 6:24 am

    an imaginary tax cut

    “Here’s your rebate. It’s i dollars.”

  2. McGehee »

    29 July 2014 · 9:38 am

    I understand the appeal of the trigger: it’s based on not trusting the politicians to keep a promise. If the alternative to the trigger is accepting “We’ll cut your taxes if/when x happens,” most people would rather have the trigger.

    As for the pols not understanding the law they themselves just passed, this is the natural consequence of decades of drift in that same direction; voters and taxpayers haven’t been able to understand the laws foisted on them since before either one of us was born. It was inevitable the lawmakers themselves would end up in the same leaky boat.

  3. Barks »

    1 August 2014 · 8:16 am

    Disregard opinions that are couched as “I don’t understand” when they mean “I disagree”.

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