Lest we somehow forget this is an election year, we still may need to remind a few folks about some of the struggles this state is facing. Most importantly, the people running for state legislature.

Last week State Treasurer Ken Miller announced, guess what, we’re still facing a pretty big hole in the state budget.

A lot of new legislators will inherit these budget problems, and for many, the reason they chose to run is because money wasn’t being appropriated into an area they care about — like education. Candidates have told us why they’re the best candidate, but now let’s hear about what they’ll do once they’re elected.

The problems, we’re well aware of. We even know, pretty much, how we got into this mess with a combination of lost energy revenue, huge tax breaks and non-recurring revenue sources.

The time to focus on the solution is now. We have to create plans that go beyond forcing a vote from the people and tinkering with the state constitution. We need our legislators, regardless of who we elect, to be able to work together to come up with budget solutions.

These aren’t complex riddles. There are some basic questions. Do we roll back income tax cuts? Can we decrease our tax rebates to big business? Can we tax energy exports? Do we tax online sales? Could we increase shipping fees and fines? There are a lot things on the table to talk about, they just aren’t popular topics.

Who knows? The price of crude could come up and we could all bounce back. That’s what the governor would like us to pray for.

Not a bad idea, but it shouldn’t stop us from preparing for the worst.

—Stillwater News Press

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