Oklahoma commerce secretary Larry Parman on freedom, taxes, job creation

November 13, 2013

Earlier this month OCPA friend Larry V. Parman began his service as director of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and as Gov. Mary Fallin’s secretary of commerce. Parman, pictured above speaking at OCPA, had been serving in Fallin’s cabinet as secretary of state since March.

In September, Sec. Parman appeared at the CPAC St. Louis conference, hosted by the American Conservative Union. He was featured on a panel on interstate tax competition, moderated by Travis H. Brown, author of How Money Walks. We encourage you to watch the video of Sec. Parman’s comments below. Here are a few highlights.

On a true vision of hope and change for Oklahoma and the rest of the 50 states:

I believe that the policies of freedom, the policies of individual responsibility, the policies of rewarding work and not sloth, the policies of less regulation, trump the policies of victimhood and dependency. I believe there’s hope. I know there’s hope, if the change includes keeping the government out of our lives and leaving government with only a light touch and a light footprint in our lives. I know there’s hope, if the change includes keeping our tax burden as low as possible. I know there’s hope in these states, if we have workers’ compensation programs that drive costs low for our employers and incentivize them to create jobs. If that’s the change that’s out there, that’s a positive thing.

On the question of what is the most effective type of tax to generate government revenue:

My philosophy is that, if you want more of something, you tax it less, and if you want less of something, you tax it more. So I generally believe that sales tax and those kinds of taxes serve our revenue stream better than income taxes. Because when you tax income at virtually any level, or certainly above some level where it maximizes the productivity and the results of generating revenue for the state, you start getting less of it. It starts being counterproductive for you.

On the concern that Texans, despite paying no state income tax, tend to pay more in property tax than Oklahomans:

When you buy a piece of property, you’ve made a choice. It’s the exercise of your individual decision to buy that asset. And when you spend money on property tax to support that, it’s still your asset. You made that decision. By contrast, when you send a check to the government to fund an income tax, it goes into the black hole and the abyss, and you have no idea what form, in terms of service, you might get in return.