Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Conservative View: Optimist or Pessimist

This week's Conservative View, from Adair County Commissioner Russell Turner.
The Conservative View
by Russell Turner

Optimist or Pessimist

We all like to have better things such as a new house or a better auto, but all of these things require more money. Over the past year we have seen the fallout of stretching our finances to the breaking point. People that have lost their jobs are on the verge of losing everything because they cannot pay their bills. Often these people have to take a job that does not pay what they are accustomed too. In the good times we have a habit of assuming that the good times will always be here and we don’t have to worry about our finances. Personally I prefer to have a small nest egg and plan for the worst and hope for the best. One of the biggest flaws that many people have is the inability to budget their money and prepare for the worst. If we can avoid locking ourselves into too many financial obligations, we can have the flexibility to get through the bad times. Next year we Oklahomans will have the ability to vote on a State Question that could remove any financial flexibility that state budget makers now have.

State Question 744 would require Oklahoma to increase it’s per pupil spending to the regional average. While we all want to have quality education for our children, we need to remember that other agencies in the government also have to be funded. Granted, Oklahoma education spending ranks low in the country, but so do other agencies in state government. For example, corrections, transportation and a host of other agencies are also short of money. Tax revenues are like a bucket of water, there are only a certain amount of drops in that bucket. The only way to increase the amount for education is to pass more taxes, consolidate smaller schools, reduce or eliminate certain classes or courses, or plan for extra tax revenue because of future growth or the most likely - simple cutting the budget of other agencies.

We had better weigh the costs very carefully when we go to the polls to vote on State Question 744. The money necessary will have to come from somewhere and the other state services may have to take a hit in order to satisfy the funding requirements for SQ 744. I try to not be a pessimist,but I have found that the difference between an optimist and a pessimist is the pessimist has more and better information.

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