Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Redefined: New Lingo for "Tax Hikes"


With Governor Mary Fallin proposing $2.6 Billion in tax increases, we're starting to see some new terminology regarding taxes coming from some in state government who are following the Governor's lead. Let's remember that as a self-proclaimed "conservative Republican", Fallin campaigned on "right-sizing government" and lower taxes.

So, get your dictionaries out, along with some White-Out, and let's get to work replacing those definitions. Here is the new lingo - these are all some alternative synonyms you can use for the topic of "raising taxes":

BOLD REFORMS FOR RECURRING REVENUES
Source: the Governor's budget proposal. Use this when you want to impress people, because it sounds eloquent and exciting.

BROADEN THE TAX BASE
This comes from former State Sen. Owen Laughlin's A Guide to Liberal Terms for the Legislative Session (pictured above), a flier he would hand out while on the campaign trail in 2010 when he ran for State Treasurer. Definition: "People paying existing taxes are fed up, so we need to find new things to tax for the first time in history." Fits the Fallin sales tax hike perfectly.

EXPAND THE SALES TAX BASE
Source: Governor's column on February 14th."If we expand our sales tax base to better reflect our economy, we could lower the overall sales tax rate or income tax." See related phrase below - REDUCED IN THE FUTURE.

INVEST/INVESTMENT
This one comes from House Appropriations & Budget Chair Leslie Osborn in an article from The Oklahoman: "'Out of 101 people in the House, I've got 70 or 80 pragmatic members that will actually look at this and say it's time to invest (with new revenue).'"  'Osborn, speaking on The Oklahoman's Political State podcast, referred to "pragmatic members" as those who might be willing to vote in favor of a tax increase.'  Problem is..... invest/investing/investment usually implies using money you already have.

NEW RECURRING REVENUE
Source: column by Scott Meacham, posted online by the Governor. A much nicer way of saying "higher taxes".

NEW REVENUE STREAM
Source: Governor Fallin's State of the State address: "I am proposing a new revenue stream by increasing our gas and diesel taxes to the regional state average, but still below the national average." That's..... not a new revenue stream, you just want to increase the rate at which it's taken.

PRAGMATIC MEMBER
Same source as INVEST/INVESTMENT. Osborn defined it for us: "pragmatic members" - those who might be willing to vote in favor of a tax increase.

PROUD
This would describe how Democrats feel when Republicans adopt this terminology to justify and advocate for tax-raising policies.

REVENUE CREATION 

Source: Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger, in a press release belittling OCPA for "cost avoidance versus actual revenue creation." Actual revenue creation,,, is that similar to Actual Physical Control?

REVENUE ENHANCEMENT
Another old-timer from Laughlin's A Guide to Liberal Terms for the Legislative Session.

TEMPORARY
The Oklahoma sales tax started as a temporary one-year tax in 1933. Two years later, it became permanent, and..... now you know the rest of the story. A related phrase is...

     --    REDUCED IN THE FUTURE

Governor Fallin's budget proposal said this after discussing a $1.7B sales tax increase: "Future legislators may even choose to reduce the overall sales tax rate as growth revenue continues over time." She said something similar in her State of the State: "And it may be possible in the future to further lower the sales tax rate." Fallin's chief of staff, former House Speaker Chris Benge, said this in another interview: "The philosophy behind it, or the logic, is that you broaden the base and lower the rate.". If that's the case, then why didn't Fallin propose a lower rate? There is nothing quite so permanent as a government-imposed tax. See above entry under TEMPORARY.


I hope this new lexicon has been helpful. Feel free to add additional entries in the comments section.

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