For Immediate Release: 10/21/2018
Jennie Scott for HD41
Hand Up, not Hand Out
Hello again friends and neighbors!
In many of my discussions with constituents throughout the district, I heard the belief that any safety net services that the state offers needs to focus on helping individuals get back on their feet-a “hand up, not a hand out.” I agree! Safety nets should be temporary assistance that leads to independence! However,I would take this approach a step further. I would apply it to business as well. In my 20’s, I helped open two restaurants and I know first hand the difficulties faced when trying to start a business. Several new businesses do not see a profit in the first year. Offering tax incentives to help small businesses get started is a great way for the state to create economic prosperity. However, Oklahomans are being asked to take on the tax burden from multimillion dollar corporations that are anything but small. The latest report from the Oklahoma Tax Commission shows that only 2% of the state revenue comes from corporate sales tax! Tax breaks offered as a stimulus for growth should not only have reasonable time limits, but also regular reviews to ensure that the tax investments are bringing quality jobs to the state. Without these checks, regular Oklahomans are left footing very large bills.
While receiving seemingly unchecked tax breaks, many corporations create conditions that lead to their employees needing government assistance, either from low wages, lack of benefits, or both. If you work full time, you should be able to provide for yourself and your family. Corporations that claim millions in tax breaks but whose employees are still dependent on public assistance are double dipping into Oklahoma’s financial resources, and should be held accountable for this. When employees are able to afford their basic needs, their productivity goes up, sick days taken goes down, and overall well being is higher. This is why supporting wage transparency and tax accountability for all Oklahomans is a smart and responsible economic decision- it supports and protects the employers AND employees.
Like many of you, my story starts in a community and family built on hard work and faithfully attending to responsibilities. We were all taught that hard work and honesty produces good fruit. If you are willing to help yourself by doing everything in your abilities to do so, you should be able to receive a helping hand up when you need it.