Monday, May 18, 2009

The state budget won't be a complete disaster

Oklahoma's budget situation could have been a lot worse. I won't go as far as saying that "Obama rescued us," but some of the few good things that came out of the stimulus legislation earlier this year should be noted. One of the bottom lines for this state will be an increase in education funding (apparently 2%) - both at the K-12 and higher ed levels. These folks were bracing for budget cuts, and understandably so given the state's increasingly hostile stance toward its educators and the institutions that serve children and adult learners. Other state agencies are bracing for 7% cuts - which will be really bad for those who most vulnerable in Oklahoma. That it could have been worse is a rather disquieting thought indeed.

By the way, Dochoc's blog also makes mention of a fact that rarely gets acknowledge in all the tough talk from the teabaggers, right-wing legislators, or the state's "news" media: Oklahoma receives $1.48 for every dollar paid in Federal taxes. That's right: the state is basically a leach on the Federal budget. I suspect much of that is self-inflicted - with the state's anti-intellectual climate, it is difficult to attract and retain the sorts of people and organizations that could help the state flourish economically and culturally.

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