| May 31, 2012

OCPA fellow reflects on ‘embarrassing’ 2012 legislative session

“If you’re a Republican,” writes Andrew Spiropoulos, OCPA’s Milton Friedman Distinguished Fellow, “there’s no spinning the results of this legislative session: It was an embarrassing debacle.”

Everyone has their favorite blunder, but a short list of issues our political leaders managed to bungle include tax reform, water policy, workers’ compensation reform, and the prudent finance of capital projects including the necessary reconstruction of the crumbling edifice in which they allegedly work. They couldn’t work up the gumption to pass straightforward, common-sense reforms like moving school board elections to a time when ordinary citizens might vote and even managed to threaten to foul up policies they had gotten right in the past such as the overdue implementation of high-school competency exams.

Worse yet, I would add, is that our political leaders – already the biggest spenders in state history – managed to spend even more. As my colleague Jonathan Small told The Wall Street Journal, “We didn't get a tax cut because the Republicans decided they'd rather spend the money.” Indeed, they were so committed to spending the money that they were even willing to raise taxes on home-owning middle-class parents who tithe. Fortunately, that proposal failed.

Where do we go from here? Spiropoulos correctly says we should “resolve to come back next session and, as for as many sessions as necessary, demand the reforms that the politicians could not deliver. We will not rest until our tax code is reformed, spending priorities reset, and the iron grip of the trial lawyers and education bureaucracy loosened from our throats. If we didn’t get what we wanted this year, next time around let’s ask for twice as much …”

Good advice.

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