Detailing the Issues
by Lorrie Tevabaugh
For the Greater Good of the State?
One article last week in the Daily Oklahoman claimed higher fuel prices would eventually benefit all Oklahomans. When prices stabilize high, production increases. Coupled with greater tax revenue for the state, all win. We should all; happily fill up at the increased price for the greater good of the state. While the trickle down theory works in premise, there are serious flaws in that conclusion.
The Oklahoma Panhandle receives very little tax revenue from oil production, but people here drive more miles than most people do down state. The Boise City school district covers more territory and runs longer bus routes than any other school district in the state. While our schools receive very little oil revenue money, we spend the most on fuel and our county also holds over eighty percent of state school land. It doesn't take long to figure that the people of Cimarron County are over burdened with their share of literally paying the price for the greater good of the state.
When fuel prices increase, costs everywhere follow suit. Trucking companies must charge more for freight and that added expense trickles down to you and I. While grocery prices swell, our incomes stay the same. The Daily Oklahoman also reported that if prices were adjusted for inflation a barrel of “Oklahoma Sweet” would bring more than $80; a jump of over $30 a barrel. The unreasonable logic here lies in the fact that salaries are not rising to meet the same inflation standards.
Since 9-11 and the war on terrorism, the world fears an oil shortage. Given that a large amount of American fuel supply comes from the Middle East that fear is somewhat understandable, but what is not logical is the soaring price on domestic products like natural gas and propane. The growing expense of these heating sources will undoubtedly put many Oklahoma families in a financial crunch this winter.
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer for these problems, but I for one do not buy into the optimism and logic that elevated energy prices will benefit everyone in the state. Of course, Oklahoma has untapped oil resources, at this point, but the ultimate answer will not come until Americans develop and widely use alternate sources of energy.
Boise City News, P.O. Box 278