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.

Gov. Fallin plans to call Special Session beginning Sept. 25th

Governor Mary Fallin Statement on Plans to Call Special Session to Adjust Budget for Current Fiscal Year

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.

“Messaging” Matters, So Do Facts

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 Seeks Oklahoma House District 41 Seat

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.

Congressman Jim Bridenstine Nominated to Lead NASA

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.

Following the Trump administration’s announcement that the President was nominating Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine as NASA Administrator, Oklahoma politicians are beginning to comment.

Sen. Jim Inhofe: “I am pleased President Trump has announced his intent to name Jim Bridenstine as NASA Administrator today. As the former administrator of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium, Jim Bridenstine’s lifelong passion for space, combined with his work in Congress on modernizing our nation’s space program will serve him well at NASA. I look forward to working with my fellow Oklahoman in this new capacity.”

Sen. James Lankford: “Rep. Jim Bridenstine has served his nation as a Navy Pilot and as a US Representative specializing in satellite innovation. His background in aviation and space, coupled with his commitment to fiscal responsibility make him an excellent choice for NASA Administrator.”

State Sen. Nathan Dahm (one of the several Republicans running to succeed Bridenstine):

Senator Nathan Dahm Comments on Bridenstine NASA Appointment

Broken Arrow—Senator Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) congratulated Congressman Jim Bridenstine Friday on his presidential appointment to NASA administrator. Bridenstine previously served as executive director of the Tulsa Air & Space Museum & Planetarium before being elected to Congress.

Dahm says Bridenstine’s new role at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration will not only positively impact the nation, but also be beneficial to the city of Tulsa with its large aerospace industry.

“Congressman Bridenstine has served Oklahoma well the past five years,” said Dahm. “He has set the bar high for whomever follows him in the First Congressional District seat, but I know he will continue to serve this state and nation with integrity in his new position.”

Upon Bridenstine’s promotion, the First Congressional District seat becomes vacant. Dahm, a constitutional conservative, is running for Bridenstine’s seat.

For five years Dahm has served in the Oklahoma State Senate. His district encompasses Broken Arrow, Bixby, and Tulsa. During his time in the Senate, Dahm has been a champion for individual rights, including the right to life and the Second Amendment right to self-defense. He has fought for openness, transparency, and accountability in government.

If elected to serve as Oklahoma’s First District Congressman, Dahm promises to serve the people just as he has consistently done during his time in the Senate.

“I will continually fight to uphold the oath I have sworn to defend the Constitution, to protect our God-given rights, and to restore the balance of powers between the states and the federal government for limited government operating under Republican principles,” says Dahm.

Broken Arrow—Senator Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) congratulated Congressman Jim Bridenstine Friday on his presidential appointment to NASA administrator. Bridenstine previously served as executive director of the Tulsa Air & Space Museum & Planetarium before being elected to Congress.

Dahm says Bridenstine’s new role at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration will not only positively impact the nation, but also be beneficial to the city of Tulsa with its large aerospace industry.

Richardson Lays Blame of Car Sales Tax Increase on Lt. Governor Lamb

Tulsa, OK, August 31, 2017 – Gary Richardson today expressed his disappointment in the 5-4 decision upholding the Oklahoma Car Sales Tax.  However, Richardson laid the responsibility of the tax increase squarely at the Lt. Governor, Todd Lamb for not doing his job as the President of the State Senate.

“I’m surprised that our State Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote can look at a law which brings millions more into the state coffers and say it doesn’t increase revenue,” said Richardson.  “But what shouldn’t be lost with today’s decision is that our Lt. Governor, Todd Lamb, could have stopped this tax from becoming law in the first place.”

Governor Mary Fallin Statement on the Oklahoma Supreme Court Upholding Vehicle Sales Tax

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today issued the following statement after the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the vehicle sales tax implemented this year is constitutional:

“I appreciate the Supreme Court ruling on this matter in an expeditious manner. This ruling provides us with clarity in dealing with this fiscal year’s budget. While pleased with today’s ruling, it’s important to keep in mind we must still deal with the immediate problem of the loss of $215 million from the earlier high court ruling that struck down the proposed smoking cessation fee. The $215 million represents just state funds, but with the loss of matching federal funds state agencies estimate the total is nearly $500 million.”

“The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally – not a 20 percent traitor.” Ronald Reagan Trump Derangement Syndrome The obsession to mock, slander, make fun of, and defame Trump at any moment possible. A result of the 2016 presidential election were Hillary lost spectacularly, the …

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House Speaker McCall Responds To Minority Leader Inman’s Plan To Raise $1 Billion In Taxes

OKLAHOMA CITY – House Speaker Charles McCall (R-Atoka) issued the following statement today after the McCarville Report posted a story claiming that Gov. Mary Fallin and Democrats in the House of Representatives have agreed to a plan that would raise more than $1 billion in taxes on Oklahoma citizens.

“There is never a shortage of rumor and innuendo surrounding negotiations at the Capitol, so I will add some facts to the discussion. First, there is no way House Republicans will ever pass a billion dollars in tax and revenue increases to fill a $200 million budget hole. Such a plan would be dead on arrival.

“Second, Minority Leader Scott Inman has no interest in negotiating in good faith with the governor or anyone else. He has failed at every turn to deliver Democrat votes for any significant revenue package. He has offered conflicting demands in public and private negotiations. The fact is, Scott Inman is only interested in campaign issues for his governor’s race, not real solutions that will help Oklahoma.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Gary Richardson sent the following press release out this afternoon, in response to a story from the McCarville Report that Governor Mary Fallin is nearing an agreement on a new $972M to $1.06B tax hike plan with the House Democrats in advance of the expected special session.

Richardson Decries Gov. Fallin’s $1 Billion Tax Increase, Calls on Todd Lamb to Take Control of the State Senate

Tulsa, OK, August 24, 2017 – Gary Richardson today called on the state legislative leaders to oppose every one of the $1 billion in new tax increases proposed by Governor Mary Fallin.  “I have said it before and will continue to say it again, we have a spending problem, not a revenue problem,” said Richardson.

“That’s why I urge Governor Fallin to heed my call to audit every state agency to identify and eliminate any wasteful spending or fraud before sticking a $1 billion tax increase to the people of Oklahoma,” said Richardson.

Richardson continued, “Additionally, I call on all of the legislative leaders to oppose any new tax increases to fill the budget gap, including the President of the Oklahoma Senate, Todd Lamb.”

Richardson then explained how the Oklahoma Lt. Governor is the one constitutionally in charge of the State Senate.  “According to Article 5, Section 28 of the State Constitution, the Lt. Governor is the one who presides over the State Senate,” said Richardson.  “I call on our Lt. Governor, Todd Lamb, to fulfill his constitutional powers as President of the Senate and block any tax increases from Governor Fallin.”

Richardson then explained how this wouldn’t be the first time a Lt. Governor has presided over the State Senate.  “Previous Lt. Governors in Oklahoma have used their constitutional powers to pass or block legislation,” said Richardson.  “It’s in the Constitution for a reason.”

Richardson continued,  “It’s time our Lt. Governor follows the State Constitution and stop these job-killing, billion dollar tax increases.”

Today is the second anniversary of the untimely death of Labor Commissioner Mark Costello. I’ve often wondered what the Oklahoma political scene would have looked like had that fateful night turned out differently.

A stout defender of free market ca…

NASA Watch, a news site focused on the space agency, and Arstechnica, a tech/science news site, are both reporting that Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine will likely be announced in the coming weeks as the Trump administration’s pick for NASA Administrator.

The Deputy #NASA Admin position was decided a month ago. Administrator was decided upon a week or so later. Formal announcement in Sept

— NASA Watch (@NASAWatch) August 15, 2017

Oh yes Jim Bridenstine = #NASA Administrator and John Schumacher = Deputy Administrator

— NASA Watch (@NASAWatch)