Monday, August 2, 2010

OFRG Chides Pro-SQ744 Group

Oklahomans for Responsible Government (OFRG) is out with a blog post today chiding the backers of State Question 744, which OFRG opposes.

"It seems that a lot of people are talking about the cost of State Question 744 except for those who actually put the measure on the ballot in the first place," the OFRG says. "We told you that the first year cost would be an extra $376-million and the Oklahoma Policy Institute looked three years into the future and came up with a total of $1.7-billion. Those supporting 744 refute the numbers - but don't offer their own cost analysis.

"In an Edmond Sun article, Yes on 744 folks question the $850-million cost that the House of Representatives fiscal staff came up with last summer during an interim study. Mind you, the OEA never questioned the figures during the actual study and representatives of the teacher's union testified twice at the hearing.

"So what do the Yes on 744 folks say is the actual cost? As we pointed out earlier this year, they don't say anything. If you look on the "Learn More" section of the website, the only reference to money is that there will be revenue growth of $1.5-billion over the next three years and that 744 would leave $600-million for other areas of government. So indirectly, they're actually confirming the $850-million cost!

"Of course, if you think the state will bring in an extra $1.5-billion over the next three years, you're in pretty exclusive company because we've not heard anyone predicting that kind of recovery. And even if there is a huge windfall, shouldn't the other state agencies - most of which have suffered larger percentage cuts than education - share equally in that?

"It seems strange that those supporting a measure are quick to lash out at those who question its cost without actually putting up numbers of their own. But then, these are the same people who wrote a state question that could cost $2-billion and didn't bother to include a way of paying for it."

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