Thursday, June 1, 2017

Is Anyone Going To Challenge The Unconstitutional Tax Bills?

  Last month, the Oklahoma legislature waited until the last few days to pass an ensemble of new taxes. These legislative actions clearly violated several constitutional prohibitions:
  • The legislature cannot pass a 'revenue raising' bill in the last 5 days of a legislative regular session.
  • The legislature must first present all revenue-raising proposals to a vote of the people, before they become law. The only way to avoid the ballot question is to pass the measure by at least 75% approval of the full house & senate.
  • Any bill which specifies terms which clearly result in higher revenue to the state, falls into this requirement, regardless of whether the action is called a 'tax', assessment, fee, royalty, duty, commission, or any other adjective, noun, verb, or associated synonym.

​  The Oklahoma Democrat party, along with the ACLU, would do well to challenge the constitutionality of the massive tax package.

    But the Conservatives of Oklahoma MUST not let the Liberals do this, alone. If nothing is done this month to challenge the new taxes, it will set back Oklahoma's effort to keep govt. at a manageable level. But if the only protectors of taxpayers are the liberals, then they will score a huge tactical win even if they lose a court ruling.
  If a conservative candidate for statewide office joins this battle, he will get an even bigger advantage, politically.
  This scenario seems tailor-made for Gary Richardson. He's a great lawyer. It's free media attention. the issue is central to his campaign message.  If he loses, then the voter outrage will rally to his message and cause.
​    Gary Jones could also make this an effort of his own. No, he's not a lawyer, but he has connection and influence.  His campaign message is directed at govt. waste & ineffeciency. His 5-5-5 tax plan, however; is an echo of the Democrat caucus platform (at least in the Gross Production Tax on oil).
  Todd Lamb hasn't made any noise or action to distinguish himself from Mary Fallin. For all we know, Lamb would have voted for this package of taxes, also.
  Time is running out. The new taxes mostly go into effect on July 1st. A filing and petition to expedite should be done post-haste! A call for an injunction must accompany the suit. It must request that the taxes are halted until the Oklahoma Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality.
  If the taxes stand up to OSC scrutiny, the taxpayers are screwed ten ways to Sunday. There will be outrage, synicism, and an electoral revolt. Those who conspired in the taxes will be punished electorally. Candidates who did nothing fight the tax grab will be seen as part of the big problem.
  If the taxes are thrown out, then those who fought in the courts will be the heroes. The governor will certainly call a special session to get tax bills passed. the Democrats will likely get their 5% GPT, but they will also then support other tax measures (provided that they are not inordinately assessed upon the lower income public).  In all likelihood the current budget will stay in place, but the governor will call for funding bills, only.
In any case, the worst news is no news. If nothing happens in the next 30 days, we will know that the OKGOP is not a conservative force in Oklahoma; but rather, they are the problem.

from Sooner - Editorial

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