While Oklahoma only had $5.3 Billion in tax revenue available for the FY 2010 budget, there is a second off the radar tax expenditures budget where $5.4 Billion per year is handed out with no limitation, tracking or accountability. In order words, only one-half of Oklahoma taxpayers taxes are going to pay their share of states $5.3 Billion budget spending. The other one-half of taxpayers taxes are going to make up for the $5.4 Billion in tax breaks handed out to corporations and wealthy individuals off the books, hidden in some legitimate tax deductions, and not shown to the public. This $5.4 Billion in tax breaks is off the table when it comes to cuts.
State officials' use this hidden $5.4 Billion slush fund to repay favors and insure elections. This is where our elected officials' corruption kitty can be found. This crony club's corruption kitty has been operating in the closet so long elected officials view it as a necessary tool to hold their office. Break the code of silence and they are political history. Keep their mouths shut and they benefit handsomely. This has been operating so long they feel untouchable.
How many Oklahoma taxpayers have ever seen or heard of our $5.4 billion per year Tax Expenditures budget? While there are some legitimate programs found in Tax Expenditures, that is the cover for the rest of the more than 500 programs found there that are used as a political slush fund to hand our financial favors. That is where they hide more than 80 tax credit programs, and several other tax evasion goodies. Programs that hand out credits that the recipient can sell for cash the minute they receive the tax credits. That little $5.4 Billion slush fund off: the books and off the record. Off the screen and when it comes to cuts, off the table.
While some states and the federal government have Tax Expenditures budgets and use the same federal or state financial system to track and account for Tax Expenditures, Oklahoma does neither. Biannually the Oklahoma Tax Commission issues a Tax Expenditures report replete with missing and grossly under reported amounts; to prevent the public from learning how much we are being gouged. A report, few even know exists. Those that do ignore because it is totally meaningless, cryptic and intended to both hide and mislead. Only about 150 of the 500 line items even list amounts. The 350 without estimates: only showing zero, N/A, state "minimal amount" or show nothing. Estimates that have been found to be under reported from 400 to 1,400%. In addition, estimates are only provided for one of the two years.
For the 32 tax credit programs OTC reported on Openbooks; OTC's Tax Expenditures report list $90 million for 2008 combined. So far we have uncovered from various state documents those same programs cost at least $370 million, or more than four times the amount reported.
Even worse are the 4 fraud ridden rural and small business venture capital programs where the Tax Expenditures report shows $4.8 million for the same period. Those same state documents mentioned above show $69.5 million. That is under reported by nearly 15 times.
That is still way to low, the Incentive Review CAPCO report, another OTC report, which is only generated for these 4 programs shows $197 million was allowed for the same period. A closer examination peeling back the slew of discrepancies inserted to disguise the truth reveals that number is at least $251 million. Peeling back the layer of false reporting reveals evidence that suggest those numbers should be even higher. That will be clarified and reported later.
As a reminder the $643 million in fake First State Bank Altus loans, used by Altus Ventures and Affinity Ventures to falsely claim and receive $192 million in unearned tax credits has not appeared on any OTC reports.
Note: By no means is anyone to assume what has been reported here is anymore than the tip of a huge iceberg. It will take a full team of forensic investigators to get to the bottom. The information is intended to show reason for an outside investigation. Outside Oklahoma officials who are responsible for allowing this to occur
For any who have unfamiliar with these issue, Google "Tax Expenditures" where you will find lots of information describing the subject and how the feds and other states treat "Tax Expenditures" the same as all other public spending. Budgets and accountability! The way our constitutions requires all public funds be treated.
Then go find Oklahoma Tax Expenditures report and take a good look at that mess. If you like I can provide copies of other documents.