| July 16, 2012

Fly me to the moon? Not with taxpayer dollars!

At an OCPA speech in Tulsa and in other venues, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has said: "Never take a dollar from a free citizen through the coercion of taxation without a very legitimate purpose. We have a solemn duty to spend that dollar as carefully as possible because, when we took it, we diminished that person's freedom."

Even though Oklahoma government spending was already at an all-time high, our political leaders who crafted the FY-2013 budget decided to spend even more money. But is there "a very legitimate purpose" behind all this spending? Is all this money — more than $500 per second — being spent "as carefully as possible"?

Regardless of revenue levels, lawmakers continue to take your money and give it to The Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority (OSIDA). Sadly, lawmakers have budgeted taxpayer funds for the OSIDA in the FY-2013 budget.

OSIDA, created in 1999, was intended to operate entirely on self-generated revenues. Despite this intent, lawmakers have given $8.2 million in taxpayer appropriations to OSIDA since its inception, including the $394,589 given to the agency for FY-2013. Including payroll taxes, that same money could have rewarded 3,800 teachers with a performance bonus of $2,000 for helping students improve in the core areas of reading, writing and arithmetic.

State-subsidized space travel is not a core function of state government. Moreover, the infrastructure of OSIDA is now used for more than just attempts at space travel and some reports indicate that if OSIDA were freed from state control it could generate enough income to operate on its own.

It’s time to end state taxpayer subsidizing of attempts at space travel.

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