Oklahoma Republicans are tearing themselves apart as they confront the economic wreckage of their policies

Oklahoma spent eight years under full GOP rule, with Republicans controlling the governorship and the legislature, passing a fully ALEC-compliant slate of laws that benefited the wealthy at the expense of the poor; the result has been a catastrophe for the party's fortunes in Oklahoma, to say nothing of a catastrophe for Oklahomans, whose schools are running four day weeks so teachers can made ends meet by getting a day's work at Walmart (no wonder they're on the verge of striking); while Republican lawmakers have run amok, introducing bills demanding that creationism be taught in schools; or that protesters be bankrupted for peaceful assembly; and making the state a haven for forced-labor camps masquerading as drug rehab centers.

Now the party is in total disarray as they scramble to patch the enormous holes in the state's budget without upsetting their friends in big business, especially the fossil fuel industry. The "compromise" position that the least reality-denying faction has come up with is to increase taxes on poor people, which will leave their corporate donors intact. That isn't playing with state Democrats, and the GOP can't pass those tax hikes without them (or without convincing Tea Party purists to hold their noses and vote for a tax hike).

Meanwhile, in nearby Minnesota, a suite of redistributive, semi-socialist policies have created an economic miracle of growth and prosperity.

It's true: reality has a well-known left-wing bias.

Although the candidates represent different wings of the party, all of them agree about the depth of the problem. And while none of them want to use the word “tax,” several talk about replacing some of the revenue that has been cut in recent years. That replacement money could scarcely come from any other source except taxes.

The only GOP candidate for governor who openly advocates for a tax hike is Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones, an accountant and former chairman of the state Republican Party. He’s been particularly critical of the Legislature’s decision to make permanent a generous tax incentive on new oil and gas production. Fallin signed that bill just before the price of oil plummeted in 2014. The price drop dealt another major blow to the energy-dependent economy.

The drilling industry now pays an effective tax rate in Oklahoma that is far lower than in any other state, a factor cited by the teachers threatening a strike.

“We’ve got to face the truth,” Jones said. “We need somebody who’s willing to tell the truth about how we got here, where we’re at and has a plan to get out.”

GOP confronts another failed tax experiment in Oklahoma [AP]

(via Late-Stage Capitalism)

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