Behind every issue this state faces, from the high incarceration rate to low teacher pay to failing roads and bridges is the skimming of our revenue streams and the problems we ignore. No state action is without consequence. Imprison more people, you create more spending. Leave people homeless, you create more spending. Leave the disabled and mentally ill without services, you create more spending.
Oklahoma is not a poor state. We are rich in untapped natural resources that have not even been considered- or have been actively hamstrung in service to special interests and out of state Fortune 500 companies.
Responsible Implementation of Medical Marijuana. ($ 25 million)
Wisely implement Industrial Hemp. ($25 to 50 million)
10,000 acres of industrial hemp, with an average of $60,000 per acre/annual yield equals $600 million in economic activity. With a simple 2% state oversight fee, each 10,000 acres could yield $12 million in state revenue. The state oversight fee is to ensure that the growth of this product is managed in a way that does not overwhelm the market and drive down the price. By comparison, Oklahoma grows 350,000 acres of water thirsty corn, at an average of $710 per acre/annual yield which equals $248 million in economic activity. Using a $600 million infusion of economic activity we build and expand the infrastructure to support new industries which currently don't exist to process these new crops. In this way, we restore local manufacturing.
Expansion of private and industrial renewables. ($ 50 to 100 million +) Currently, renewables provide $23 million to state tax revenues, which is less than 1% of Oklahoma’s potential capacity. Not only would the expansion of wind and solar across the state benefit residents environmentally, over time it will provide cost savings. Also, electricity generation is an exportable commodity, bringing out of state dollars into our economy. It's smart business.
Legalize Level 3 Gaming for Tribes - $25 million
End Oklahoma's birth to prison pipeline with criminal justice reform - $256 million
$26k for imprisonment vs $5K for treatment. Mental health and addiction make up the majority of our prison populations. Currently, Oklahoma leads the world in incarceration. I do not believe Oklahoma is filled with bad people. We are filled with a traumatized population that needs treatment, not prison. The cost of jailing our traumatized and mentally ill is $256 million every year and rising. We are now facing a 14% overpopulation, a DOC demanding 2 new prisons plus a steep budget increase, and a private prison industry demanding a raise as though years of 98% occupancy guarantees weren’t enough.
Medicaid Expansion - $1 billion by 2020 - it's our money, why are we refusing it. With expansion an estimated 153,000* Oklahomans will receive coverage. That makes economic sense.
End out of state tax shelters - $75 million
Raise GPT from 5% to 10% - $500 million
State Public Banking - $50 million while growing Oklahoma industry
Reforming our State Income tax rates - $1 billion
Ending Multi State Corporate tax avoidance - $157 million
These are just a few areas for revenue expansion.
The idea is engaging in new industries and technologies that have an expanding future instead of subsidizing industries in decline. And most of these ideas have little impact on the average Oklahoman who has witnessed a sharp rise in every tax and fee they pay other than income tax. The tax break they gave you from the top of the kitchen table has done nothing to save you from the higher taxation you are receiving via the more hidden hand in your pocket.
In this way we move forward in providing the responsible government we desperately need.
*Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation