Friday, September 22, 2017

Turner's 'Conservative View': A Dollar Store Calculator


I have found that one of the handiest things a person can own is a thing that many of us take for granted; a simple hand held calculator can prevent anyone from making a mistake on one’s checkbook when deducting the amounts when we pay our bills. I can remember when calculators first came out they were very expensive, years ago a simple one would set you back $50.00 or more. Now you can go to the local Dollar Tree store and buy a very good one for one dollar. With all of the talk about the special session of the legislature, I think it would be a good idea for all of our legislators and our governor to make a trip to the local Dollar Tree and purchase one. For less than $200.00 each lawmaker could have his or her very own calculator to check the math on the bills they will be voting on. I recently read an article about a fee that will be placed on child support payments in our state, in the next paragraph I will share what has been told to the citizens and I will use my little one dollar calculator to check their math.

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services is ready to begin assessing a 3 percent fee on child support payments, which they say is expected to generate about $1 million to balance its budget. These collections are handled by Child Support Services, a division of DHS. According to the article the fee will begin October 1st and be capped at $10 per month; this fee is in addition to an annual $25 fee once $500 in support is collected and issued to the custodial person. For example, if a custodial person receives $300 a month, after the fee that person now will receive $291 a month.  It needs to be noted that Gov. Mary Fallin approved the new fee at the end of the latest legislative session. According to the agency the money goes toward offsetting the cost of the collection program. It is also claimed that projections show that the average cost will be $4.31 per month and 78,000 cases are subject to the fee. While that all sounds good, get your calculators out and check the math.

We are told that $1 Million will be raised to support the program. If 78,000 cases are subject to the fee multiply 78,000 by $4.31 average cost by 12 months. The answer is $4,034,160 in my book that is just a little over the $1 million we were told it would generate. If it is a $10 fee then 78,000 X $10 X 12 = $9,360,000. The people of Oklahoma are being led to believe that the cost will only be 1 million dollars; in reality at least 4 million dollars will come out of the economy.  This is just one example how government grows into the monster it has become. Once any agency has a revenue stream it will never go down and they will scream to the high heavens to maintain it. During the last session of the legislature far too many of our elected officials spent all of their time coming up with schemes to raise more money. The passing of fees in our state has become nothing short of a plague upon society. It has gotten to the point where I just hate to see the legislature convene, for I know all of us who pay taxes are going to be hit. Instead of just rubber stamping fees like the one I just illustrated, those little Dollar Tree calculators might be a good thing to have in the future.

Russell Turner is a businessman, farmer, and conservative Republican activist from Adair County, where he served one term as county commissioner. Russell has written his weekly column, 'The Conservative View', for many years. If you wish to contact him or subscribe to his weekly email list, he can be reached at


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