The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

October 4, 2012

Letters: ‘Death and taxes’

ENID, Okla. — Benjamin Franklin once said “The only things certain in life are death and taxes.” While this may be true, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight like crazy to keep them at bay. Excessive taxes are death for job growth, family budgets and the overall economic health of our state.

In November, voters in Oklahoma will decide a very important issue in State Question 766. In fact, it may well be the most important issue on the ballot. Does that sound a bit alarmist? Bear with me for a moment.

If this measure fails, the door is left open for the largest tax increase in state history. More than just a question, SQ 766’s fate will send a message about our state’s economic philosophy for the future.

This question is on the ballot because the Oklahoma Legislature wisely passed a bill that now asks voters to remove the government’s ability to tax you on intangible property — property that can’t be seen, touched or held. Examples of intangible property that will affect my industry are things like mineral interests, land leases and trademarks. However, this intangible property tax hike will cut much deeper and impact a broad spectrum of personal property.

Teachers, nurses, insurance agents, small business owners and families could feel the brunt of a tax hike on professional licenses, business names, patents and insurance policies. Even something as innocent as a hunting lease would be subject to tax. These items are difficult to evaluate and if they generate income, they’d be at risk of double taxation. This is simply too far.

It is time to draw a line in the sand. The idea that we could be taxed on items that can’t be seen or quantified is almost too ridiculous to be believe. Enough is enough!

We must stand together to stave off the Grim Reaper of economic growth. I urge you to join me in voting “yes” on SQ 766 to ensure that our state’s families and businesses remain vibrant, stable and economically alive.

Lew O. Ward, Enid

chairman, Ward Petroleum Corp.

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