OK Policy chairman defends S.Q 744 analysis

By Patrick B. McGuigan

Published: 23-Jul-2010

Vincent LoVoi, chairman of the board of directors at the Oklahoma Policy Institute, has written a letter to supporters calling attention to “a matter of some concern to our organization because of your past interest and support.”

As he noted, “OK Policy recently released a position paper opposing S.Q. 744, a well-intended but ill-conceived initiative on the state ballot in November.  SQ 744 would require a huge increase in funding for common education — $1.7 billion over three years, according to our analysis — without a dedicated funding mechanism.

LoVoi told supporters, “The only possible outcomes from adopting this rigid constitutional formula would be to cut funding for mental health, higher education, law enforcement, environmental quality, roads, and other key state priorities where Oklahoma also lags behind most other states, or to raise taxes, or both.”
He reported, “Regrettably, the out-of-state consultants who are paid by the ‘Yes on SQ 744’ campaign chose not to engage OK Policy on the merits of our arguments but instead attacked our integrity and independence.

He said, “They failed to offer any sort of rebuttal to  the analysis of SQ 744 provided by our Director, David Blatt.  David is one of the leading fiscal analysts in Oklahoma and his work is respected — and sought out — across the political spectrum. His personal credibility is one of the strengths of OK Policy.”

Despite the criticism, LoVoi said, “We will continue our fight for rational government and fiscal responsibility; equal opportunity for low-income Oklahomans; and asset development for young families.”

He encouraged recipieints to review OK Policy’s issue brief on SQ 744 (http://okpolicy.org/sq-744), and “Then draw your own conclusions….on the merits, not on the basis of name-calling. We hope you’ll agree with us, but if you think we’re wrong or if you find errors or weaknesses in our analysis, let us know.”

Brandon Dutcher, vice president of policy at Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, reflected, “I commend OK Policy for pointing out that SQ 744 would give ‘huge, automatic, and irreversible’ increases to the education system without any goals, let alone promises, of better student performance. That’s just foolish.

“Not only is SQ 744 ‘the wrong solution,’ it even addresses the wrong problem. The problem, as OCPA never tires of pointing out, is that spending keeps going up while performance stays flat at an abysmally low level. Fortunately, Oklahoma voters by a 2-to-1 margin already realize that giving more money to the status quo isn’t going to help.”