Fallin and Oklahoma GOP relieved they didn't follow the Brownback path

Jun 11, 2017

Gov. Mary Fallin
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Back in 2012 when voters swept a wave of Tea-Party Republicans into power, Oklahoma lawmakers looked admiringly to their neighbor to the north. Gov. Sam Brownback and his fellow Kansans had begun drastically cutting taxes in expectation that the move would result in a windfall of state revenue.

In Oklahoma, as The Tulsa World notes, Gov. Mary Fallin and other GOP lawmakers didn’t want to miss out on the chance to stand alongside Kansans as heralds of a new dawn in supply-side economics. Now, five years later, Fallin and her colleagues are grateful they didn’t hitch their wagon to Kansas’s plummeting star.

Despite the Sooner State’s $900 million budget gap, the situation could have been much worse had the state elected to enact a sudden massive rate slash like Kansas, rather than cutting taxes gradually. Last November, many of the Kansas lawmakers responsible for the state’s bleak economic landscape were voted out. And last week, Kansas lawmakers finally overturned Brownback’s disastrous tax cuts.

However, with the recent Kansas turnaround, Oklahoma likely has a lower tax burden than the Sunflower State. The dearth for income has resulted in four-day school weeks, state park closures, and a mass exodus of public school teachers from the state.