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NPR在线收听:Tax Cuts Put Oklahoma In A Bind. Now Gov. Fallin Wants To Raise Taxes

DAVID GREENE, HOST: All right, so Oklahoma is in a bit of a bind. Riding high on the oil boom in the late 2000s, the state slashed taxes - but the promised prosperity never came, and now state lawmakers are trying to find a way out. Rachel Hubbard of member station KOSU reports. RACHEL HUBBARD, BYLINE: One in 5 Oklahoma schools now holds 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. And Medicaid provider rates have been cut to the point that rural nursing homes and hospitals are closing. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) MARY FALLIN: We can continue down the road - the path of sliding backwards. Or we could choose a second path, which is to say enough is enough. We can do better. We deserve better. Our children deserve better, too. HUBBARD: That's Republican Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin on Monday during her final State of the State address. She spent most of it touting a plan from a large coalition of business leaders to raise taxes and enact reforms. David Rainbolt, a banker, is a leader of the group known as Step Up Oklahoma. DAVID RAINBOLT: You can look at the problems we have and realize that this problem will occur over and over and over again unless we create revenue streams that create stability. HUBBARD: But there's a problem. When you pass a tax cut in the state of Oklahoma, it may as well be permanent. In the early 1990s, in reaction to a tax increase, voters passed a ballot measure that requires 75 percent of the legislature to vote in favor of any revenue hike. That supermajority requirement has given the tiny Democratic minority in Oklahoma the power to derail any plan. And even though the Step Up Oklahoma plan meets many of their demands, House Minority Leader Steve Kouplen says it's just not enough. STEVE KOUPLEN: The drowning man will grab any lifeline, whether it's a good one or not. One has been thrown to us. We think it needs to be tweaked, and we think some true compromise needs to take place to change it. HUBBARD: Democrats believe oil and gas companies have gotten rich while cuts to state services have fallen on poor Oklahomans, and they shouldn't bear the cost of fixing a mess they didn't make. Rainbolt says when Step Up created its plan, business leaders from competing industries sat down at a table. Everyone had to give. RAINBOLT: We'd created something that no one in the room liked every part of but that everybody in the room agreed would move us forward. And we thought it was salable to the legislature, and it appears that it is. HUBBARD: The spirit of compromise hasn't reached lawmakers yet. They're now in their second special session, trying to pass a budget for the current fiscal year. And lobbying is fierce for the Step Up plan that's supposed to provide a more permanent revenue fix. Leaders in the legislature say they're hoping to vote on it as soon as it can pass. The Democratic minority in the Oklahoma House of Representatives says it still needs more work before they'll support it. At this point, the gridlock continues. For NPR News, I'm Rachel Hubbard in Oklahoma City. (SOUNDBITE OF DIRTWIRE'S "ROMARE")来自:VOA英语网 文章地址: http://www.tingvoa.com/18/02/Tax-Cuts-Put-Oklahoma-In-A-Bind-Now-Gov-Fallin-Wants-To-Rais.html