Budget & Tax , Education

| January 28, 2016

Kaza: Clinton Education Tax A Cautionary Tale for Oklahoma

Most Oklahomans have heard about the proposed penny sales tax for education. What many Oklahomans may not know is that Hillary Clinton helped push through a one-percentage-point sales tax for education while she was Arkansas’ First Lady.

Greg Kaza, economist and executive director of the Arkansas Policy Foundation, spoke about the lessons to be learned from Arkansas' experience during a recent event on OCPA’s campus. In his presentation, Kaza explained the Clintons' education tax plan and how it didn’t live up to original claims. He pointed to educational choice for parents as a better way forward for education in Oklahoma.

According to Kaza, one of the claims made by supporters of the Arkansas sales tax hike was that education revenue increases would benefit the skilled workforce. But as The Journal Record reports in its article about Kaza’s talk:

Historical personal income data shows that Arkansans made about 76 percent of what the average American made in 1984, a year after the education sales tax was adopted there. That number didn’t break 80 percent until 2009, after the state’s grocery tax began to be eliminated, said Kaza.

“The data shows the policy they enacted was a failure,” he said. “And if it had been a success, you would have seen income rise more dramatically as it has since 2009 when a different policy was tried.”

For those with a subscription to The Journal Record, the entire article can be read here. In addition, a KOSU report on Kaza’s talk is available at the 5:15 mark here. And The City Sentinel’s coverage of Kaza’s presentation is available here.

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