In the special election held in House District 46 today, Democrats once again emerged victorious, snatching another Republican-held seat away and continuing their recent success in special elections. Democrats have lost only one legislative special ele…
The latest in a string of Republicans to resign in disgrace, State Sen. Bryce Marlatt stepped down today after being booked into the Oklahoma County Jail this morning for one felony count of sexual battery. He was released on bond.The charge stems from…
As announced last week, Job Creators Network’s TaxCutsNow bus tour is stopping in Oklahoma City tomorrow [Tuesday]!We have just received word that the bus tour is making an additional stop in Tulsa tomorrow as well! The TaxCutsNow bus will be outs…
From Muskogee County Commissioner Ken Doke (R-Dist. 1):Yesterday marked the dawning of a new day for Muskogee County. For a number of years now, the county has been operating in the red with deficit budgets. In fact, between 2010 and 2015, the county s…
The recent ruling by the Oklahoma Supreme Court has opened a dangerous can of worms for the Oklahoma taxpayer. By essentially eviscerating Article V, Section 33 of the Oklahoma Constitution, the Court now has given the Legislature free reign to hike taxes on Oklahomans in complete disregard of the will of the people as expressed in passage of SQ 640, which was intended to place strict limits on the increasing of Oklahomans’ tax burden by the Legislature.
Governor Fallin, who plans to issue a call for a special session, began the year by pressing for nearly $2,600,000,000 (2.6 Billion with a B) in new and increased taxes. $1.7B of that would have come by removing the sales tax exemption on services. Armed with this ruling, she may feel emboldened to continue that push for higher taxes. Legislators should resist her, and Oklahomans should flood the State Capitol with calls against raising taxes or fees or removing tax exemptions, or whatever other loophole the Governor and Legislature may try to use to squeeze more money out of taxpayers for the state’s coffers.
Justice Combs said this in his dissent, and I am in full agreement with him:
The aim of the people in adopting State Question 640 must not be thwarted by such parsing of words and definitions. The Legislature must not be allowed to circumvent the requirements of Okla. Const. art. 5, § 33 when the clear principal object and purpose is to raise new revenue.
$10 billion worth of tax exemptions in the Oklahoma tax code are now subject to removal by a bare majority vote, rather than the 3/4ths vote intended by the petitioners and voters who wrote and approved SQ 640 in 1992. Hold on to your wallets, folks, because Governor Fallin and the Legislature will be coming for them.
Former OKGOP National Committeeman Steve Fair wrote this on his blog in response to the ruling:
[W]e need a statute of limitations on removal of exemptions. If a good or service has not been taxed for eighty years, then it should be considered a new tax or fee. […] This was clearly a loophole the legislature was looking for to fill this year’s budget hole.
I think that’s a great idea. Hopefully, some taxpayer-defending legislator will take up the mantle next session and work to advance a measure along these lines.
Oklahomans will need to keep a close eye on the Special Session that will begin on September 25th. Your wallet will be placed on the table by a pack of hungry vultures who have complete disregard for the intent and purpose of Article V, Section 33 of the Oklahoma Constitution.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today issued the following statement on her plans to call a special legislative session for lawmakers to adjust the current fiscal year budget:
“I am planning on calling a special session beginning September 25 for legislators to adjust the current fiscal year budget. A formal call for a special session will be issued in the next few days, but I wanted to announce my intention to call a special session for planning purposes. I also want Oklahomans to know we are working diligently to address the fiscal matters of our state.”
EDITOR’S [Press Office] NOTE: The state’s 2018 fiscal year budget has a shortfall of $215 million as a result of last month’s Oklahoma Supreme Court’s ruling, which struck down a proposed smoking cessation fee that was estimated to raise that amount. The $215 million represents just state funds. With the loss of matching federal funds state agencies estimate the total is nearly $500 million.
Bill Shapard of SoonerPoll went on KFAQ’s Pat Campbell Show yesterday morning, and mentioned some polling numbers from two surveys they ran in recent days. These figures had not previously been released publicly.GOP Gubernatorial PrimaryTodd Lamb …
As chair of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, Rep. Leslie Osborn was one of the legislature’s budget negotiators earlier this year. She used that position to make the case for a litany of tax increases, claiming that Oklahomans are “tired of us doing things the way we’ve always done them.” This begs the question: what has the state been doing?
As one of the most conservative states when it comes to election results, some might assume that the Oklahoma legislature continually cuts taxes. In fact, the state ranks 36th in per capita tax collections. A study shows that Oklahoma historically has had an above average tax burden compared to the rest of the nation. While there have been some state tax cuts, Jonathan Small has shown that the legislature has also increased revenue.
Despite changes in tax laws and fluctuations in revenue, what has remained constant year after year has been the increase in state government spending. According to the data from Oklahoma’s most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), state government has increased spending in 22 of the last 23 years. Despite recessions in 2008 and 2015, when many Oklahoma families had to make tough choices, Oklahoma government continued to spend.
During the same interview Leslie Osborn said that “more than ever the message and the meaning is going to matter more.” Message matters, but it is imperative they be not only sincere, but also based on facts. Oklahoma government has been growing, not shrinking. People might question the priorities in the budget or in how agencies spend money, but the total burden on Oklahomans is higher than ever.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court opinion striking down SB 845 states “by strictly limiting the Legislature’s ability to enact laws that generate additional revenue—the people’s preference that when revenues shrink, so too does their government.” This is the people’s will as expressed in the Oklahoma Constitution. Maybe the state should try doing things this way?
Denise Crosswhite Hader, Republican, officially announced her candidacy for Oklahoma House District 41 for the 2018 election cycle. District 41 is currently represented by John Enns. District 41 includes all of Piedmont, Surrey Hills, Waukomis, Drummond, Lahoma, Carrier, Hillsdale, Bison, and portions of Enid, Cashion, Deer Creek, and Oklahoma City.
Crosswhite Hader has had a passion for impacting public policy her entire life. Having learned governmental and legislative processes as a Congressional Field Representative, a Legislative Liaison to Former Labor Commissioner, Mark Costello, and as a House staff member at the Oklahoma State Capitol; Denise will hit the ground running to rein in out of control government programs and focus on the core functions that state government should provide. Crosswhite Hader served on the Tinker Bond oversight committee which provided enhancements to the base to protect our state’s largest employer against BRAC closure. Her legislative priorities are transportation infrastructure, military, public safety, corrections, and giving more freedom and local control to public education.
Washington, DC, September 5, 2017 — Congressman Jim Bridenstine: “It is an honor to be nominated to serve our nation as NASA Administrator. I am humbled by this opportunity, and I thank President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for their confidence. Should I be confirmed by the United States Senate, I will work with all diligence to achieve the President’s vision for America’s leadership in space.”
Jim Bridenstine served as a U.S. Navy pilot on active duty for nine years, followed by four years in the Navy Reserve where he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander. In 2015 he transitioned to the Oklahoma Air National Guard. He was elected to Congress in 2012 and serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Science, Space, and Technology Committee. In 2016 he introduced the American Space Renaissance Act. Bridenstine lives in Tulsa, OK with his wife Michelle and their three children. For a full bio, please click here.
CIVIL ASSET FORFEITUREIS IT LEGAL OR NOT?THE WATCHMANEditors note: The Supreme Court recently struck down a Colorado law that refused to refund seized property and court fines for people who had their convictions overturned, demanding that the now inno…