Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin is now in favor of raising taxes after it embraced the Kansas model, an economic policy based on the premise that low taxes combined with corporate friendly policies will spur economic growth in itself, and thus increase government tax revenues more efficiently than by raising taxes. The Kansas economic model left Kansas in shambles, and appears to have done the same to Oklahoma.
Around 20 percent of Oklahoma's schools now hold classes just four days a week. Last year, Highway Patrol officers were given a mileage limit because the state couldn't afford to put gas in their tanks. Medicaid provider rates have been cut to the point that rural nursing homes and hospitals are closing, and the prisons are so full that the director of corrections says they're on the brink of a crisis.
Fallin was long a proponent of the Kansas model. She believed that cutting taxes would lead to higher government tax receipts. Logically, this makes little sense, but this is the premise behind supply-side economics, the principle that underlies the Kansas model, a model most Republicans would like to see nationalized on the federal level.
"We have two clear choices," she said. "We can continue down a path of sliding backwards, or we can choose the second path, which is to say 'Enough is enough! We can do better! We deserve better! Our children deserve better, too!' "
Ironically, Fallin was governor when the Kansas model was implemented. While Kansas has always been a 'small government' state, the changes made during the Fallin administration has hobbled the government's ability to offer basic services to the state's residents.
Many of the tax cuts and subsequent revenue failures have happened on Fallin's watch. Now she wants to fix it, and she's gotten behind a large coalition of business leaders who have come up with a plan to raise taxes and enact reforms.