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A Republican state representative in Oklahoma who has been chair of that state's House Appropriations and Budget Committee has cautioned Nebraska state senators about considering enactment of legislation that would automatically trigger tax cuts.

Oklahoma did that, with her help, Rep. Leslie Osborn said, and "we had to pull it back" because of its impact on state programs, which already had been affected by a continuing series of tax cuts.

The results in Oklahoma included "horrible problems with education funding streams," Osborn said during a telephone conference call with Nebraska media arranged by Open Sky Policy Institute. 

"You don't know what the future holds," she said. "Why in the world would you tie your hands that way?"

Tax decisions should be based on a broad and careful assessment of current factors and conditions, not by determinations already built into law, Osborn said.

"To tie your hands when you're not sure (about the future) is extremely foolhardy," she said.

After a series of eight tax cuts over the past 15 years or so, Oklahoma confronted a $1.1 billion budget shortfall last year, Osborn said.

"We had reached a saturation point," she said, moving beyond tax cuts that were reasonable and justified, "although taxes probably were too high when we started."

Most of Oklahoma's state agencies have experienced budget cuts of 45 percent, she said, and the state no longer has "the dollars to provide the core services citizens expect."

"Be careful," Osborn said. "Be extremely reluctant to ever support a trigger.  

"Remember, I am a Republican. If you're using the argument that we were given here that it will drive the economy, be careful.  

"We're now trying to fix what I had a large hand in creating.  

"I hope Nebraska will be more cautionary," she said. 

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSDon.

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