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Why the concern over outside influence in tax cut debate?

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: April 24, 2012

OUTSIDE influence (or the more volatile “outside agitators”) is a term drawn like a weapon in the ideology wars. If you like what an outlander has to say, it's natural to arm yourself with it. If you don't like it, fire back with the broadside that ideas and political solutions should be homegrown instead of smuggled in from the “outside.”

The Oklahoma Policy Institute has loaded its anti-tax cut arguments with some anti-outside influence bullets. We'd make the same observation about Jesse Jackson's Oklahoma visit recently or the entire “Occupy” movement or any number of things. Those opposed to the civil rights movement in the 1960s often complained about “outside agitators” swooping in to stir up the locals before returning home. We doubt OK Policy would have a problem with that.

OK Policy opposes the movement to reduce or eliminate Oklahoma's personal income tax. It has argued against the cuts mostly along rational, sensible lines. The outside influence complaint doesn't meet that standard.

The complaint is that Gov. Mary Fallin based her income tax elimination plan largely on the recommendations of an outlander, economist Arthur Laffer, who was brought to the state last year by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. Like OK Policy, OCPA is a think tank. The former opposes tax cuts and the latter supports them.

OK Policy complains that OCPA also brought in speakers “from outside of Oklahoma” to push for tax cuts. These included an “anti-tax activist from Missouri” and a representative from a Washington, D.C., think tank. OCPA also relied on an economist from the Show-Me Institute, described as being Missouri's version of OCPA.

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by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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