Tuesday, December 11, 2007

by Steve Fair

State Senator Kenneth Corn, D-Poteau has filed a bill that would give every high school graduate in Oklahoma free higher education. He wants to give every grad two years free at either a community college or at a career tech school. Corn says, “my legislation will also provide grants equivalent to the average tuition cost of community colleges for students who want to attend a regional college or comprehensive university their freshman and sophomore years.” There are a number of problems with Corn’s proposal.

First, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Somebody has to pay the bill for this “free” tuition and that task would fall to Oklahoma taxpayers. Oklahomans are already overtaxed when compared with other states in the region. We pay income tax, grocery tax and other taxes and fees other states in our region don’t have. We can ill afford the increase in taxes Corn’s proposal would cost.

Second, giving people something normally doesn’t help people. It’s not human nature to appreciate what you don’t work for. If you invest in something, you take equity or ownership in what you’ve invested in.

Third, how does this help Oklahoma? Educating young people is a worthy cause, but what will they do with that education? Most will have to leave the state because there is a shortage of high paying jobs in the Sooner state. Corn can thank his Democratic predecessors for that problem. They stonewalled right-to-work, workers comp reform, and tort reform until they created a business environment in Oklahoma that doesn’t attract companies to our state.

Ken is planning on being awfully generous with my money. If he is truly concerned with how to get Oklahoma moving, he should consider giving back the money he plans to fund his proposed bill to the people whose money it is- the taxpayers.

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