Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Pork Politicians Revealed: Addicted To Swag


via Sooner Politics.org - Editorial Read the article at SoonerPolitics.org http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/pork-politicians-revealed-addicted-to-swag

Pork Politicians Revealed: Addicted To Swag

House Committee rejects bill to cut spending on non-essential trinkets and swag

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Feature, by Jamison Faught, of Muskogee Politico -
  Late last night, (just before midnight) the House Joint Committee on Appropriations & Budget (JCAB) rejected a measure designed to cut non-essential agency spending on promotional items and other trinkets (the "anti-swag" bill).

  Presented by Rep. George Faught (R-Muskogee), the bill could have saved as much as $30M, which could have avoided additional cuts or paid for half of a $1000 teacher pay raise. Instead, JCAB members shot down the measure, specifically objecting to cutting items such as FFA trophies (which could be paid for by private funds) and stress balls for veterans.

The final vote was 5-21.

These members felt that nonessential promotional spending should be cut, and should be commended:
  • Jon Echols (R)
  • John Paul Jordan (R)
  • Jason Murphey (R)
  • Terry O'Donnell (R)
  • Todd Russ (R)
​These members felt that nonessential promotional spending is just too important, and shouldn't be cut:
  • Scott Biggs (R)
  • Chad Caldwell (R)
  • Dennis Casey (R)
  • Josh Cockroft (R)
  • Jason Dunnington (D)
  • Katie Henke (R)
  • Scott Inman (D)
  • Steve Kouplen (D)
  • Ben Loring (D)
  • Scott Martin (R)
  • Charles Ortega (R)
  • Leslie Osborn (R)
  • Pat Ownbey (R)
  • John Pfeiffer (R)
  • Eric Proctor (D)
  • Dustin Roberts (R)
  • Mike Sanders (R)
  • Earl Sears (R)
  • Shane Stone (D)
  • Emily Virgin (D)
  • Kevin Wallace (R)

Editor's Note:

Blogger, Jamison Faught added;​
  "It's a shame that so many so-called Republicans are rejecting efforts to make the easy cuts (nonessential spending) and instead push for tax hikes."
  Perhaps no other piece of legislation could be more emblematic of the problems with the current legislature.  This is one place where the people of Oklahoma are not detrimentally impacted (unless your snowflake kids need a participation trophy to make them feel that life is worth living.
  This is a case of our Conservative Platform Caucus being defied by both Democrat and Republican camps. It's very difficult to see a narrative to compromise whereby all 3 camps in the legislature give up some of their goals in order to balance a difficult budget gap.
  As things stand, your family will have to endure painful increases in taxes; decreased core state functions, and spare our kids of the deficit-spending "bonds"; so that some district politician can get some free 'pr' face time in front of local groups, and present yet another shiny trinket to make us all feel real special.
  In reality, this 'swag' is more about letting a local incumbent us state funds to endear himself to targeted constituents of his.
  My mother once scolded me; 
​"Nothing good happens at that hour of the night!". I now agree with her a good bit more than I used to.


from Sooner Politics.org - Editorial http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/pork-politicians-revealed-addicted-to-swag

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Politicians' Donors Revealed


via Sooner Politics.org - Editorial Read the article at SoonerPolitics.org http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/politicians-donors-revealed

Politicians' Donors Revealed

  The Oklahoma Ethics Commission has created an online resource for citizens to review the campaign reports of elected officials.
  State law requires that candidates for elected state office make complete reports at least quarterly, if they are raising money or spending funds. Failure to make these reports can get a politician in significant trouble. Making a false report could result in fines and/or incarceration.
  Often a candidate will present himself to voters as a staunch supporter of a particular set of values and priorities. But when in office, his votes and public policies will betray that campaign posturing. We are seeing a good deal of that at the state capitol, this weekend.

  The Guardian website allows the public to type a candidate's last name and search all records and reports for campaign activities. 
   There will often be several quarterly reports as well as supplemental files. These reports will list campaign contributions and campaign expenses paid. 
  The website is a bit clumsy and redundant. It's a government service and has all the inefficiencies we have come to expect from our government. But it is an improvement in transparency.
   Knowing who funded your local politician is the best way to know how he will vote, in office. Check the list of contributors.
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  One prominent conservative group, Tulsa 912 Project, has expressed strong displeasure, at the actions of several lawmakers who courted the support of members of the grassroots group, last year.  President & Founder, Ronda Vuillemont-Smith has archived the political publications of several lawmakers and plans to publish some very strong statements in the weeks to come.
   Several of the Republican Lawmakers' reports show that they had close ties to an indicted campaign operative, Fount Holland. Holland is accused of several felony counts of violating statutes associated with campaigns. Holland also led one of the largest state campaign consulting firms, AH Strategies.  Holland also operated Majority Designs, along with his associates.


from Sooner Politics.org - Editorial http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/politicians-donors-revealed

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Twitter Diplomacy At The Capitol

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  If you aren't following social media, you're not getting all the nuance and posturing going on between Democrats & Republicans in state government.
  SoonerPolitics created a special facebook page to make it easier to see all the negotiating which is spilling over onto social media. We're following over 100 accounts of key individuals at the state capitol, and we're loading them in real time, to a Facebook page called; "Capitol Chatter".
  There has been a very dramatic and draining process going on at the capitol, this year. There are also more press conferences, media blasts, and even an occasional public apology.
  Some key players are using the medium to sell the various solutions. Some are focusing on the weaknesses of the other options.
​  Those interested in the budget drama would do well to 'Like' & 'Follow' the Capitol Chatter Facebook page. If there's a feed we're missing, send us a message on that page and we'll do our best to improve on our coverage.



from Sooner Politics.org - Editorial http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/twitter-diplomacy-at-the-capitol

Twitter Diplomacy At The Capitol


via Sooner Politics.org - Editorial Read the article at SoonerPolitics.org http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/twitter-diplomacy-at-the-capitol

Friday, May 19, 2017

SoonerPoll: 87% Believe There's More Room For Efficiency In State Spending


via Sooner Politics.org - Editorial Read the article at SoonerPolitics.org http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/soonerpoll-87-believe-theres-more-room-for-efficiency-in-state-spending

SoonerPoll: 87% Believe There's More Room For Efficiency In State Spending

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an excerpt from Bill Shappard -  The message from state agencies and legislators over the last few months has been, for the most part, that the state has cut too much from government budgets and there is no more wasteful spending now.  But, that isn’t what Oklahomans think.

  According to the SoonerPoll Quarterly Poll, an overwhelming 87 percent of likely voting Oklahomans believe more efficiency can still be found in state government spending.  About six in ten likely voters strongly agreed.

  Only 7.5% disagree about there being room for more efficiency. We don't know if those same 7.5% work for state agencies?

  About 5% didn't have a comment or just didn't know.

  This report should be hearkened to by our lawmakers during this state-down at the capitol. If voters are being ignored, they may resort to a political shift at the ballot box; or initiate a petition drive to supersede the legislative and executive branch altogether.

  Read the full report by SoonerPoll at their website.


from Sooner Politics.org - Editorial http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/soonerpoll-87-believe-theres-more-room-for-efficiency-in-state-spending

Time To Wean State Universities Off the State Taxpayer's Burden


via Sooner Politics.org - Editorial Read the article at SoonerPolitics.org http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/time-to-wean-state-universities-off-the-state-taxpayers-burden

Time To Wean State Universities Off the State Taxpayer's Burden

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  Public university funding is way, way out of proportion. And it's harming the private universities who have to compete at market-set tuition rates.
  I'd bet it's safe to say that if a lawmaker authored a resolution to place a state question on the ballot, to remove taxpayer dollars going to higher ed., then he'd be the biggest hero of the taxpayer.
  Another constitutional change needed to for the universities to be subjected to audits from the State Auditor's office; in the event that the voters choose to continue subsidizing state universities.
I don't believe I owe it to any fellow Oklahoman, to provide a college education. It's a socialist venture.

​Last November, SQ 779 would have passed, if the money had strictly gone to classroom teacher pay.
  Currently, the legislature gives about $1 BILLION dollars a year over to the state's 20 university systems. That accounts for about 1/3 of the universities' official spending. Top notch private universities in Oklahoma charge full time students about $40k per year. The big state universities could still operate at current education levels of operation by bringing student tuition to market-driven prices of $30k.

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  But by cutting that $1 Billion of unjustifiable social spending, Our state could easily operate at current taxing levels.
the taxpayers could significantly increase classroom teacher pay and restore other key constitutional functions.
  Our state has more universities per capita than many other states. We no longer need to prime this pump.  Especially when we have to funnel all our funding though an agency (State Board of Regents) which pays it's chairman $400k per year, before helping any students.

  What rationale is it, that compels us to give $10k of our state tax dollars, to every college student, every year? We're gunna have to smoke a lot of tobacco, just to put a kid through more schooling.


from Sooner Politics.org - Editorial http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/time-to-wean-state-universities-off-the-state-taxpayers-burden

Jury In Shelby Trial: "Shoddy" Prosecution By D.A. Kunsweiler

  The Tulsa Frontier News was able to conduct an interview with one anonymous juror in the trial of police officer, Betty Shelby. Shelby shot an unarmed Tulsa motorist last year. We're posting some amazing quotes from the article. Please read the full account at The Frontier.

The juror said all 12 jurors wrote a letter they intended to be sent to TPD Chief Jordan in which they stated their belief that Shelby should not be a patrol officer.

“There was a range of belief there,” he said. “Some of us thought she would be good behind a desk. She sounded like an excellent diver. I thought she would have made a great EMT.”

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He said the letter also outlined the jury’s “extreme displeasure” with the case laid out by prosecutors.

“There were so many holes in their case,” he said. “We really felt like they could have gotten a conviction had they presented it better.”

One of the elements of a successful manslaughter case like the one presented against Shelby is that fear must be “an overriding” factor. He said the jury felt like Shelby was scared — she testified that the encounter with Crutcher was “the most scared she’d ever been” — but that she wasn’t panicking.

I’ll always feel like a coward
He said that while he never came out and said he felt  Shelby was guilty, he will always regret not “hanging the jury.”

“At one point I talked with another juror about just hanging the jury, and making the state try the case again,” he said. “We really agreed that if they did a better job, they could have convicted her. And maybe the right thing to do was just make them do it again, maybe they do something different and a different jury convicts her."

“I’ll always feel like a coward for not doing that.”

He said jurors had no idea how long they would be required to stay in the deliberation room. As tiredness and hunger set it, votes started to trend toward not guilty.

“We took a vote pretty early on and it was six not guilty, two guilty and four undecided,” he said. “We did it again and it was … seven not guilty, three guilty and two undecided. The next time we voted, we kind of went around the table and we all were supposed to explain our position. When it got to me I kind of felt like I should commit one way, and I committed to not guilty.”

“We also didn’t know how long we would have to deliberate,” he said. “We were thinking ‘How long do we have to stay in here before they do a mistrial? I was kind of irritated because I was hungry, I was tired — we all were — and we kind of felt that we needed to just come to a decision.”

He said the jury felt “at least somewhat” that what Shelby did was wrong, but they all agreed it didn’t meet the criteria to convict under first-degree manslaughter.

“We all kind of felt that maybe the law wasn’t that good,” he said.


from Sooner Politics.org - Editorial http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/jury-in-shelby-trial-shoddy-prosecution-by-da-kunsweiler

Jury In Shelby Trial: "Shoddy" Prosecution By D.A. Kunsweiler


via Sooner Politics.org - Editorial Read the article at SoonerPolitics.org http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/jury-in-shelby-trial-shoddy-prosecution-by-da-kunsweiler

Guest Opinion: A State In Denial Of A Spending Problem


via Sooner Politics.org - Editorial Read the article at SoonerPolitics.org http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/guest-opinion-a-state-in-denial-of-a-spending-problem

Guest Opinion: A State In Denial Of A Spending Problem

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A guest opinion, by Ronda Vuillemont-Smith, -founder of Tulsa 912 Project
​  Oklahoma does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem.
  Our representatives must cut the State budget, fund what is essential - like roads, courts, and law enforcement - and then carve away at the rest. 

  A proposed discriminatory tax increase on cigarettes ( HB2372) failed in the Oklahoma House this week. However, since it received a majority vote (thanks to some of our own legislators), it will be on the ballot in November 2018. 

  Two more tax-increase bills to defeat are HB2403 and HB2347 which together limit itemized tax deductions and change the way gross, taxable income is calculated, so
    
Tax Shake Down
    Oklahoma Tax Shakedown Oklahomans pay more income tax. Additionally, Governor Fallin wants to charge sales tax on over 150 services such as funerals, insurance, utility bills, even child care and nursing home services.

  Contact your State Representative TODAY and tell them to vote NO on these and all proposed tax increases. Oklahoma needs to cut spending, NOT increase taxes!


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  These Republican men and women ran for office on the principles of conservatism, individual rights, smaller government, lower taxes and a belief in the free market system. And yet, once elected, those principles fly right out the door.

 "Simple fairness dictates that government must not raise taxes on families struggling to pay their bills."  ~Ronald Reagan

  Oklahoma legislators should have to do what you and I do when we have a "budget shortfall" (aka over spending problem), tighten our belts and make tough decisions. Our governor has nothing to lose by raising taxes on hard working Oklahoma citizens, she is 'termed out' and will be gone, but many of the men and women serving in our legislature should be concerned. They need to remember that it is the citizens that put them into office, not the governor.
  Call your state representatives and senators TODAY! Call them tomorrow. Call them every day until session is over. Tell them NO NEW TAXES, NO tax increases. Tell them to abide by the principles they ran for office on. Be polite and remember, if they don't hear from you, their constituents, the only people they will hear from are lobbyists and special interest groups. CALL NOW!!! 

Sincerely, 

Ronda Vuillemont-Smith 
Tulsa 9.12 Project 
Tulsa912Project.com 

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from Sooner Politics.org - Editorial http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/guest-opinion-a-state-in-denial-of-a-spending-problem

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Politics Of How To Smoke

 The emblem on Oklahoma's revered state flag includes the prominent centerpiece of a smoking pipe. If this device is so fundamental to who we are, as a state, then why is there so much drama, lately, about the bedrock tradition involving a pipe?
  Every culture has it's own traditions about what to smoke and how to smoke it. But never has there been so much consternation and obsession about telling folks:
  • where to smoke,
  • how much to smoke
  • what device to use
  • how much tax to pay for that smoke
  Norman, Oklahoma has had an idiotic series of police raids and felony lawsuits because one 'mom & pops' shop decided to sell exotic and artistic pipes. Prosecutors are still abusing this family's shop.
​   Parks and recreation areas ban small smoking devices, but welcome campfires and BBQ smokers
   The most contentious of all legislative proposals have been fought over whether or not to tax a customer another $15 for each cartoon of cigarettes. 
  Why are we acting so hostile to our own people for participating in an activity that we prominently identify with on our own state flag?
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from Sooner Politics.org - Editorial http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/the-politics-of-how-to-smoke

The Politics Of How To Smoke


via Sooner Politics.org - Editorial Read the article at SoonerPolitics.org http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/the-politics-of-how-to-smoke

Rep. Inman Calls Sen. Shultz A Liar

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This afternoon, the Democrat House leader, Scott Inman, accused Senate President Pro-Tem, Mike Schultz a liar. 
Democrats were in private discussions with  republican legislative leaders and Gov. Fallin. When Inman stepped out to discuss the Republican budget offer with the Senate Democrat leader, they were eventually called back and told that the deal was off; "Because the Republican rank & file members refused to support it.
  But Inman claims that the Republican leadership never did present the proposal to the Republican caucus of either house.

  The sticking point remains a matter of 1% difference in gross production taxes on oil producers. It also depends on whether all wells are taxed at the same rate or if only new wells not yet drilled will see the higher rate.
​  Currently, newer wells are getting taxed at 2% of production for the first 3 years. Then they are taxed at 7% thereafter. The Republicans had offered a 4% package. The Democrats seems willing to move from 7% to 5% on all wells.
​  If a deal is reached on increasing oil production taxes, then several other large tax hikes will also be pushed through, making this years legislature the biggest tax hikers in decades.


from Sooner Politics.org - Editorial http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/rep-inman-calls-sen-shultz-a-liar

Rep. Inman Calls Sen. Shultz A Liar


via Sooner Politics.org - Editorial Read the article at SoonerPolitics.org http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/rep-inman-calls-sen-shultz-a-liar

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Tulsa Cop Exonerated In Crutcher Death


via Sooner Politics.org - Editorial Read the article at SoonerPolitics.org http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/tulsa-cop-exonerated-in-crutcher-death

Tulsa Cop Exonerated In Crutcher Death

  A Tulsa jury decided after 9 hours, that Betty Shelby did not commit 1st Degree Manslaughter.

  She was charged in the death of a motorist who appeared incoherent and not effectively communicating with her, when she came upon him, in North Tulsa.

  Tulsa did not riot or threaten retribution. We awaited the judicial process and tonight we heard the verdict.

  As I write this, I'm listening to the screams of distraught Tulsans of every color, expressing their outrage with the decision.

  What many of them are saying is that cops often get by with doing things that private citizens would go to prison for.

  Some believe that the district Attorney, Steve Kunsweiler, overcharged by accusing Shelby of 1st Degree Manslaughter. Many Tulsans believe the narrative that a spooked cop fired reflexively when a taser gun fired within inches of  Betty Shelby's ear.
  
  Shelby fired a lethal round within a split second of the taser.
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  This is the end of a chapter, but I am interested in seeing good come out of this. Tulsa needs to learn. The citizens, the cops, the prosecutors; we all have things we can learn from this to make Tulsa a better home town.


from Sooner Politics.org - Editorial http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/tulsa-cop-exonerated-in-crutcher-death

Legislators Plan A Weekend Vote-athon


via Sooner Politics.org - Editorial Read the article at SoonerPolitics.org http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/legislators-plan-a-weekend-vote-athon

Legislators Plan A Weekend Vote-athon

​  While still a good distance away from a solution to maintain current budgeting numbers, the House of Representatives is still looking for loose change under any proverbial seat cushion they can find.
  The process has become stressful and testing the nerves of many. this is when we find the real character of so many whom we entrusted with this task.

3 Budget Ideas

There are 3 budget blueprints being mulled at the Oklahoma Capitol.
  • The Fallin Budget, which the House & Senate leadership are seeking to fund. It calls for huge spending increases and massive tax expansions.
  • The Democrat Budget, which calls for massive increases in oil production taxes. If passed, they would support a consensus of other proposals and possibly could make the largest expansion in spending in the state's history.
  • The OCPA Budget proposal. It adds fuel taxes, a smaller cigarette tax, and a wind tax. But they also propose cuts of $1.35 billion. 
 Be sure to follow the "Tax Week" drama on Webcast, at our LawMakers Journal page.
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Rep. Jon Echols may be the most popular Majority floor Leader in recent history.

  I did some conservative focus group polling, today. I asked the SoonerPolitics discussion group at Facebook just what they would like to see in the form of a state budget.
  The results were overwhelmingly in favor of the OCPA model.  In fact, I could not find one person to support the funding blueprint that the House & Senate leadership is pushing.
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Echols: Put To The Test

 One man who is garnering much praise has been Majority Leader, Jon Echols, of Okla. City. Just yesterday, this writer roasted Echols for what sounded like an unreasonable promised outcome which a cigarette tax hike could accomplish.
  Jon's style and grace lead him to reach out to me. He wasn't happy with the press, but his honesty, humility, and engaging personality led me to pull that part of the column after several hours. I ran an update with an explanation of his verbal slip. 
  But after our correspondence I had some time to think about what an incredible gentleman Echols has been. There are times I as a writer, have blown it. Echols was as gracious as any elected official I've known. 
  One "Platform Caucus" member recently extolled the qualities of Echols in dealing with everyone in the capitol building. "He often volunteers to take the blame when others fail to keep promises they made."  He serves at the pleasure of the Speaker and carefully avoids getting ahead of matters not yet authorized by the Speaker's office. 
  He say's; "That's a quick way to no longer be the Majority Floor Leader."


from Sooner Politics.org - Editorial http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/legislators-plan-a-weekend-vote-athon

OCPA Provides Roadmap to Austerity In State Budget


via Sooner Politics.org - Editorial Read the article at SoonerPolitics.org http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/ocpa-provides-roadmap-to-austerity-in-state-budget

OCPA Provides Roadmap to Austerity In State Budget

  OCPA is Oklahoma's premier conservative thinktank. Their research team compiled a far less painful roadmap for fiscal austerity and reforms. Here is their introduction..
 With just over a week until the end of the regular legislative session, some lawmakers have proposed massive tax increases, including a plan to cap personal itemized deductions that would dramatically increase personal income taxes on many Oklahoma families and small businesses.

  OCPA released today a budget plan to fill Oklahoma’s $878 million budget gap and give teachers a pay raise—while respecting and protecting Oklahoma families and their own budgets.

  The balanced budget plan proposed by OCPA includes more than $1.3 billion in savings—including items from OCPA’s “Freedom Agenda” published in January and “First Steps” list released in February—and $337 million in tax increases, including an increase in the tax on gasoline and diesel, a 67-cent per pack cigarette tax increase, and a wind production tax. Together, the lower spending and increased taxes add up to nearly $1.7 billion.
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  ​This budget plan would fully fund a $1,000 teacher pay raise for K-12 public school teachers as well as the elimination of personal income tax for classroom teachers. Base pay and income tax are the main reasons cited by teachers that leave Oklahoma for states like Texas.

- We highly recommend reading this short report at OCPA.  Download the PDF.

OCPA PROPOSED LIST OF BUDGET REFORMS RECOMMENDATION SAVINGS
Non-Tax Increase Items:

• Medicaid enrollment audits -- HB 1270 ....................

• HealthChoice enrollment audits ...............................

• HealthChoice select provider reform; capture savings, or equivalent amount, for General Revenue Fund ..........

• 3-year moratorium on agency “swag,” advertising, memberships, sponsorships, and non-critical travel .............

• End zero emission tax credit effective for any new projects or turbines; effective July 1, 2017 ..............................

• Cap zero emission tax credit liability payout at $12.5 million annually; effective July 1, 2017 .................................

• Cap ad valorem reimbursement for wind at $12.5 million annually; effective July 1, 2017 .....................................

• Repeal sales tax exemption on wind turbine sales; effective July 1, 2017 ..............................................................

• Tobacco settlement reforms ..................................................................................................................................

• Consolidation of administrative and back office functions of higher education, bringing noninstructional workers in
Oklahoma’s public higher education system more in line with the national average (reduction of 33 percent)

• Increase efficiency of underperforming professors ......................................................................................................

• Eliminate sales tax exemption for state government agencies; excluding PreK-12th Grade public education -- ( this
 will require agencies to make the same cost benefit decisions as many non-profits and private sector business.) ...

• Career Tech, utilize building funds, and recurring surpluses in reserve funds ..........................................................

• Eliminate Hollywood Subsidy .....................................................................................................................................

• Eliminate cigarette sales and tobacco products sales rebate to tribal governments ................................................

• Annual CIRB Apportionment Reduction ....................................................................................................................

• Surplus Cash Withdrawal from CIRB Fund ..............................................................................................................

• Revolving funds .......................................................................................................................................................

• Rainy Day Fund ......................................................................................................................................................

• Set dedicated funding at the Actuarially Determined Contribution for the Teacher Retirement System at $300 million for FY 2018 only.

• 3-Year moratorium on Rural Economic Action Plan ......................................................................................................

• 3-Year Delay in ROADS Fund Increase .............................................................................................................................

• 3-Year Moratorium On COGS Administrative Operational Grants ..............................................................................

• 3-Year Moratorium On Tourism Country Advertising Grants .......................................................................................

• Convert Horse Racing Commission to Non-Appropriated Agency ...............................................................................

• Convert Spaceport Authority to Non-Appropriated Agency .........................................................................................

• Convert OETA to Non-Appropriated Agency ...................................................................................................................

• Convert JM Davis to Non-Appropriated Agency .............................................................................................................

• Consolidation of administrative and back office functions Oklahoma Conservation Commission reduce from 88 to 77

• Adjust horse racing gaming tax rate to Illinois Rate 34% ..............................................................................................

• Increase exclusivity fee for Class III gaming to 10% .......................................................................................................

• Increased 1017 Fund deposits, due to increase of exclusivity fee for Class III gaming - 10% ..................................

Total Non-Tax

 

$85.6 million

$6.0 million

$65.0 million

$39.0 million

$15.0 million

$52.5 million

$17.5 million

$40.0 million

$57.0 million
 

$124.5 million

$182.3 million


$95.0 million

$3.0 million

$5.0 million

$60.0 million

$30.0 million

$102.7 million

$50.0 million

$150.0 million

$15.0 million

$9.6 million

$50.0 million

$0.2 million

$0.7 million

$1.7 million

$0.3 million

$2.8 million

$0.2 million

$0.8 million

$10.3 million

$10.4 million

$76.9 million

 $1,359.0 million

Increase items Tax Increase Items:

• Gasoline/Diesel Tax .........................................................................................................................................................

• $0.67 Cigarette Tax Increase ...........................................................................................................................................

• Wind Production Tax ........................................................................................................................................................

Total Tax Increase items

$219.7 million

 $80.8 million

 $36.6 million

$337.1 million

 Grand Total $1,696.2 million

 For more information, visit www.ocpathink.org/budget-plan.

MEDICAID ENROLLMENT AUDITS -- HB 1270 Most states, including Oklahoma, have programs to prevent fraud by providers who are reimbursed by Medicaid. Many states, however, lack robust procedures to verify that Medicaid enrollees are and remain legally eligible. A number of states, including Illinois and Pennsylvania, have implemented Medicaid enrollment audits and eligibility verification efforts to remove Medicaid participants who are no longer eligible. If Oklahoma applies these reforms, the state’s share of the annual savings based on the experience of other states would be $85.6 million. $85.6 million Annual



from Sooner Politics.org - Editorial http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/ocpa-provides-roadmap-to-austerity-in-state-budget

Zack Taylor Sworn In - Votes With Platform Caucus

  Last week a young Republican party leader narrowly won a special election race against a Democrat who got a lot of help from outside the district. Activists with the Teacher Caucus flooded the voters with phone calls, seeking to discredit Taylor for his support of charter schools.

  Zack Taylor did not face a recount, so his election was certified on Monday.

  Tuesday he was sworn in and took his place in the House chamber.

  His first substantive vote was on a massive packages of consumption taxes. Politicians used to call these "sin taxes".  Liquor, tobacco, and fuel probably could be used for detrimental purposes (preachers are still trying to find scripture where these substances are declared outright 'sin').

  House District 28, in central Oklahoma, had a vacancy when Tom Newell resigned days after being re-elected, to take a lobbyist job with a Florida-based group.

  Sooner Politics spoke with Taylor on the morning after his electoral success. We have every reason to believe he is solidly committed to party values and stays closely connected to the Republican grassroots in Seminole County.
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from Sooner Politics.org - Editorial http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/zack-taylor-sworn-in-votes-with-platform-caucus

Zack Taylor Sworn In - Votes With Platform Caucus


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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

House Rejects Omnibus Tax Hike Package


via Sooner Politics.org - Editorial Read the article at SoonerPolitics.org http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/house-rejects-omnibus-tax-hike-package

House Rejects Omnibus Tax Hike Package

   Tonight the Oklahoma House stayed in a marathon session and suspended the rules in order to move on a massive tax and spending increase. the Bill had not yet been printed & distributed when the members were first asked to throw aside a key House rule in order to give the committee report a same-day floor vote

  Again, several legislators switched to "No" votes seconds before the roll was closed; so as to cloak their intent on the official record.

  The vote barely reached majority support. 51 members decided it was worthy of a ballot measure. The key House author, Leslie Osborn, is reserving her right to move to reconsider the proposal at a later time.
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from Sooner Politics.org - Editorial http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/house-rejects-omnibus-tax-hike-package

House Votes On Budget Deal Today

  A hastily called Joint Committee on Appropriations and budget just recessed and members are filing into the House chamber to push the deal through.

  The deal includes huge new spending  on common education.
  It hikes fuel taxes, sales taxes, oil production taxes, and several other regressive measures.
  The economy will no doubt be greatly burdened with carrying the load of an ever-growing state government.

  Echols started out the floor procedures by moving to suspend the chambers rules which do no allow for a vote on legislation not yet, written, distributed, or read by the members of of the House.

It took some suspicious maneuvers to get the motion to suspend the rules to attain the 2/3 vote. It seems to have come down to Chuck Strohm & Sean Roberts (who just happen to be the co-chairs of the Platform Caucus).
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Leadership left the voting open for a long period, and shut off the microphones, because they were 1 vote shy of their 66 needed to suspend the House Rules and push through a budget that no one has seen or studied.
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Sean Roberts, Chuck Strohm, and Rick West finally switched to the affirmative, and voted to set aside the House Rules for this one Monster tax bill.


from Sooner Politics.org - Editorial http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/house-votes-on-budget-deal-tonight

House Votes On Budget Deal Today


via Sooner Politics.org - Editorial Read the article at SoonerPolitics.org http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/house-votes-on-budget-deal-tonight

House Votes On Budget Deal Today

  A hastily called Joint Committee on Appropriations and budget just recessed and members are filing into the House chamber to push the deal through.

  Great promises were made in the committee room. Among them was Jon Echols' clear claim that if we accept the big $1.50 tax hike on each pack of cigarettes;
 "It will end smoking in Oklahoma!"
  The deal includes huge new spending  on common education.
  It hikes fuel taxes, sales taxes, oil production taxes, and several other regressive measures.
  The economy will no doubt be greatly burdened with carrying the load of an ever-growing state government.

  Echols started out the floor procedures by moving to suspend the chambers rules which do no allow for a vote on legislation not yet, written, distributed, or read by the members of of the House.

It took some suspicious maneuvers to get the motion to suspend the rules to attain the 2/3 vote. It seems to have come down to Chuck Strohm & Sean Roberts (who just happen to be the co-chairs of the Platform Caucus).
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Of all the promises made in exchange for supporting these massive new taxes, Jon Echols may have made the biggest one.

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Leadership left the voting open for a long period, and shut off the microphones, because they were 1 vote shy of their 66 needed to suspend the House Rules and push through a budget that no one has seen or studied.
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Sean Roberts, Chuck Strohm, and Rick West finally switched to the affirmative, and voted to set aside the House Rules for this one Monster tax bill.


from Sooner Politics.org - Editorial http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/house-votes-on-budget-deal-today

House Votes On Budget Deal Today


via Sooner Politics.org - Editorial Read the article at SoonerPolitics.org http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/house-votes-on-budget-deal-today

Monday, May 15, 2017

House Raises Retailer Tax On All Sales Taxes

  The Oklahoma House of Representatives just passed a 1% tax on the retailers who  are required to collect and transfer sales taxes. It was a key feature of the collecting burden that our state placed on each retailer. In return for collecting and holding this money, the retailer was allowed a 1% discount for all the manpower and capital risk involved in being that agent for the state.
  As a result, all retailers are now going to be held responsible for all the risks and manpower. But no reimbursement will compensate businesses for the servitude. 
  By a technicality, the house leadership determined that  HB2367 is not a tax increase, even though real people know that it definitely is. the hike will likely start in July, if it becomes law.
  This added risk borne on the backs of our own retailers is one of many factors harming the economic environment. It will either be passed on to the consumers or deplete the competitiveness of our brick & mortar shops who already face stiff competition from web commerce giants like Amazon.
  Earlier this year our governor struck a special deal with Amazon whereby they claim that some sales taxes will voluntarily be collected. It's not known if Amazon will still get their sizable cut of the sales tax they charge Oklahomans; or if this will potentially break the deal that was just made.
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from Sooner Politics.org - Editorial http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/house-raises-retailer-tax-on-all-sales-taxes

House Raises Retailer Tax On All Sales Taxes


via Sooner Politics.org - Editorial Read the article at SoonerPolitics.org http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/house-raises-retailer-tax-on-all-sales-taxes

Tobacco Tax Hike Fails, Moves To 2018 Ballot Question


via Sooner Politics.org - Editorial Read the article at SoonerPolitics.org http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/tobacco-tax-hike-fails-moves-to-2018-ballot-question

Tobacco Tax Hike Fails, Moves To 2018 Ballot Question

  By a vote of 63-34 with Sean Roberts abstaining, the 98 seated members of the House of Representatives failed to reach the 75% threshold to pass new revenue legislation.
  But the majority passage does allow it to be placed on the ballot of the Nov. 2018  general election.

  The new tax of roughly $1.50 per pack of cigarettes would be designated for various healthcare interests.

  The House Democrats did not vote as a block like they did last year.  The Platform Caucus was also not completely monolithic.

  Gov. Fallin did not return to the House floor like she did last year.

A careful observation of the house video reveals that 3 Republicans switched their votes at the last minute. All three of them; McDugle, Park, and Frix; saw that the tax was failing, and decided that they opposed it.

They will likely be asked about this by their constituents and others.
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from Sooner Politics.org - Editorial http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/tobacco-tax-hike-fails-moves-to-2018-ballot-question

Sunday, May 14, 2017

College Welfare & The Misguided Priorities of State


via Sooner Politics.org - Editorial Read the article at SoonerPolitics.org http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/college-welfare-the-misguided-priorities-of-state