Oklahoma has some well-run private universities. But they operate at a huge disadvantage, because our state legislature is undermining their very existence. How can they keep a campus operational when their faculty pays taxes which fund their own competition?
About one out of every six dollars that the legislature spends, is a welfare payment to our state-operated colleges.
Oklahoma has a huge industry in colleges. But we have far more of them on the public welfare rolls than in the private sector. The legislature is just one of the funding sources that colleges aggressively tap into. Federal 'PAL' grants are perhaps the largest welfare checks that universities live off of. Big corporate benefactors, federal research grants, and direct tuition payments are some of the major ways that these behemoths continue to feed off of.
Abandoning Constitutional Duties
There are some constitutional duties that the state is derelict in attending to. Some of those mandates are costing our people dearly. Our mental health mandates are a glaring example. We have turned away the seriously ill. It has resulted in our county jails being overcrowded with the psychotic populations. It is the worst affront to civil rights that we have endured in the past 50 years. Our own legislature has to own this issue.
A Malignancy Of State
Roads We Can Pay For
Oklahoma is over 100 years old. We no longer have any justification for priming any pumps. Our recreation industry is harmed by the existence of state-run lodges. Our utility providers should be competing at market-set pricing. Whether we keep the Grand River Dam utility or not, it still needs to be pricing it's product (electricity) at market rates. Otherwise we are effectively punishing the parts of the state that are paying for power at market rates.
Tourism agencies are yet another form of corporate welfare. Their functions can and should be run by private sector associations. It is not the duty of the local factory worker, to let the state confiscate his tax dollars for the benefit of the entertainment ventures in our state.
The Oil Taxes
Better Education At Lower State Costs
In 1992, the major state teachers union heavily lobbied to cut class sizes. That did not lead to better teacher pay, but it led to a far bigger teachers union pay-back. It did not improve education because it just created job security for bad educators. (yes, they do exist in Oklahoma).
Some would say that we don't owe anyone a free education. But I can certainly say that we don't owe anyone a university education.