Friday, February 24, 2017

Oklahoma Police Chief speaks at CPAC on Civil Asset Forfeiture

Police Chief Stephen Mills of Lindsay, Oklahoma, spoke at CPAC this morning on the topic of Civil Asset Forfeiture. Here's his speech:



Here's his bio/resume from CPAC. Chief Mills occasionally writes opinion pieces on his Facebook page here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Muskogee County GOP Offers Scholarships


Muskogee County GOP Offers Scholarships

The Muskogee County Republican Party is accepting scholarship applications from graduating high school seniors residing in Muskogee County. Over the years, the MCRP has bestowed at least 30 area students this monetary award, including six in 2016. Several $500 scholarships will be given to students who meet the following criteria:

  •  Have at least a 3 point cumulative grade average their senior year.
  •  If 18 years of age, be a registered Republican.
  •  If student is not 18, one parent must currently be a registered Republican.
  •  Must be a first year freshman Fall 2017 semester.
  •  Must be a resident of Muskogee County.

Students meeting the above criteria may mail a completed application, along with a copy of their high school transcript and either a photocopy of their Voter Registration card or their parent’s Voter Registration card proving Republican registration to MCRP 2017 Scholarship Committee P.O. Box 2014, Muskogee, OK 74402, or e-mail it to MuskogeeRepublicans@gmail.com no later than Friday, March 24th. An appointment will then be set for a mandatory interview with the MCRP Scholarship Committee to be held prior to April 13th.

Public announcement of scholarship winners will be made at the 2017 Lincoln-Reagan Dinner hosted by the Muskogee County Republican Party on Friday, April 21st , at the Indian Capitol Technology Center (ICTC). The keynote speaker will be Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb. Scholarship recipients are requested to attend this event and will receive free admission for themselves and their parents.

Applications are available at every Muskogee County high school or via email: MuskogeeRepublicans@gmail.com.

Robert Aery announces bid for OKGOP State Chair



Aery will bring conservative leadership for the future of OKGOP

Tulsa, Okla. (Feb. 22, 2017)– Attorney, business owner and committed conservative, Robert Aery today announced his candidacy for State Chair of the Oklahoma Republican Party. Aery’s resume brings a depth of experience in all aspects of Oklahoma politics to the race.

“I am looking forward to traversing the state, meeting fellow conservatives and discussing my vision for the future of the OKGOP,” Aery said. “Voters across Oklahoma have given members of our party vast legislative majorities and every statewide elected office.  It is now critically important to not only build a strong state party operation that will be necessary to defend our gains in 2018, but to also begin the essential work of creating a long-term party infrastructure that will ensure conservative victories for future generations of Oklahoma Republicans.”

Under former Chairman Matt Pinnell, Aery managed the Tulsa field office and organized campaign operations for northeast Oklahoma. More recently, Aery completed a stint as the Deputy State Director of Americans for Prosperity Oklahoma during which he maintained daily operations and managed the state chapter’s policy agenda, field program, and community outreach.

Aery has served as a member of the Tulsa County Republican Party Executive Committee for multiple chairmen, is an officer of the Tulsa Republican Club, an associate member of the Tulsa County Republican Women’s Club, a lawyer member of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies and a member of the National Rifle Association.

“If elected, my first priority will be to enhance the state party’s ground capabilities for 2018 through updated field technology and increased data utilization,” Aery added. “Throughout this campaign, I will be reaching out to current and former supporters of the state party to discuss the importance of equipping our ground game with the modern campaign tools necessary to effectively identify, persuade, and mobilize voters, so that if I am elected, we can immediately get to work on the task.”


For more information, visit robert4chair.com.

AFP-Oklahoma joins fight against Fallin tax hike

Americans for Prosperity Oklahoma is joining the fight against Mary Fallin's proposed $1.7B sales tax expansion:


From the AFP-OK website:
There is an impending tax frenzy on everything from babysitting to Netflix. Gasoline, soft drinks, foot surgery, even funeral services will be taxed under the new plan proposed by Governor Fallin. All in all, $2 billion in new taxes are being proposed. This approach is not just misguided, it’s unfair.

View the itemized list of tax increases HERE.

While the state is busy handing out money to special-interests our budget deficit has grown to a whopping $870 million. We are calling on legislators to cut wasteful programs and ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely before they consider the tax frenzy that will take more money out of Oklahomans’ wallets.

Many of the tax hikes will be especially tough on hard-working Oklahoma families. If you are sick of seeing your bring-home income go down as your taxes go up it is time to act! Contact your legislator here and tell them to oppose the tax frenzy.

Contact YOUR Legislator Now!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Opposition to Fallin’s Tax Hike Grows in Legislature

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: State Rep. George Faught
Office: (405) 557-7310

Opposition to Fallin’s Tax Hike Grows in Legislature

OKLAHOMA CITY- Opposition continues to grow in the State Capitol over Gov. Mary Fallin's proposed $1.7 billion sales tax expansion, with 13 legislators adding their names in opposition. 27 legislators are now publicly on the record against the Fallin sales tax hike.

In her State of the State address, Governor Fallin presented a plan that would tax 164 different categories of services provided by Oklahoma small businesses and entrepreneurs. By the governor's own estimate, this would result in a tax hike of more than $1.7 Billion.

"We have been elected to represent our constituents and make the hard choices necessary to run state government. Their voice is loud and clear: no new taxes," said State Rep. George Faught, R-Muskogee. "I'm proud to stand with my fellow legislators in the fight to protect Oklahomans from higher taxes."

"This would be the largest tax increase in Oklahoma since at least 1985," said State Rep. Dustin Roberts, R-Durant. "Expanding or raising the sales tax is absolutely the wrong idea."

"Oklahoma families and small businesses are taxed enough already,” said State Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville. "I am completely against this tax increase."

"Oklahoma voters have already said that they don't want more sales taxes," said State Sen. Micheal Bergstrom, R-Adair. "We have to acknowledge their wishes and look elsewhere for the solution, even if it is a tough choice."

"This massive tax increase would have a terrible impact on Oklahoma families, especially considering the weakness of our current economy," said State Rep. Jeff Coody, R-Grandfield. "Let's not punish consumers and small businesses by burdening them with more taxes."

Citing their fundamental disagreements with Gov. Fallin's proposed tax hike, the following conservative legislators pledged to do what they can to stop this tax increase from becoming law:

State Rep. John Bennett (R-Sallisaw)
State Rep. David Brumbaugh (R-Broken Arrow)
State Rep. Kevin Calvey (R-Oklahoma City)
State Rep. Bobby Cleveland (R-Slaughterville)
State Rep. George Faught (R-Muskogee)
State Rep. Kevin McDugle (R-Broken Arrow)
State Rep. Lewis Moore (R-Edmond)
State Rep. Mike Ritze (R-Broken Arrow)
State Rep. Chuck Strohm (R-Jenks)
NEW: State Rep. Rande Worthen (R-Lawton)
NEW: State Rep. Dustin Roberts (R-Durant)
NEW: State Rep. Scott McEachin (R-Tulsa)
NEW: State Rep. John Enns (R-Enid)
NEW: State Rep. Dale Derby (R- Owasso)
NEW: State Rep. Casey Murdock (R-Felt)
NEW: State Rep. Scooter Park (R-Devol)
NEW: State Rep. Jeff Coody (R-Grandfield)
State Sen. Mark Allen (R-Spiro)
State Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow)
State Sen. James Leewright (R-Bristow)
State Sen. Marty Quinn (R-Claremore)
State Sen. Anthony Sykes (R-Moore)
NEW: State Sen. Micheal Bergstrom (R-Adair)
NEW: State Sen. Julie Daniels (R-Bartlesville)
NEW: State Sen. Bill Brown (R-Broken Arrow)
NEW: State Sen. Ralph Shortey (R-Oklahoma City)
NEW: State Sen. Joseph Silk (R-Broken Bow)


OCPA presents "First Steps" state budget ideas to save $413M


First steps on the road to balancing Oklahoma’s state budget 
without increasing taxes on working Oklahomans

Across Oklahoma, many citizens are undoubtedly grateful that numerous state lawmakers have expressed a desire for state government to become more efficient with the tax dollars already taken from Oklahomans, as opposed to further increasing their constituents’ taxes.

In order to help close the budget gap for Oklahoma’s state government, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs proposes the following 13 ideas. These are the FIRST STEPS state lawmakers should consider taking before tax increases on working Oklahoma families and entrepreneurs are even considered.

Download PDF

Medicaid Enrollment Audits
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 annual savings based on the experience of other states would be $85.6 million.

HealthChoice Enrollment Audits
Due to the generous benefit structure of Oklahoma’s self-insured state and education employee health coverage plan, some participants do not withdraw when no longer eligible. If HealthChoice implemented robust procedures to verify that enrollees remain eligible and remove those that are not, the annual state savings would be $6 million.

HealthChoice Select Provider Reform
Following the example of Oklahoma County, other municipal governments, and private sector employers, lawmakers passed legislation in 2015 authorizing cost savings incentive programs that reward employees if they seek low cost providers. HealthChoice finally completely implemented the program last month and projected annual savings will be $65 million.

3-Year Moratorium on Agency “Swag,” Advertising, Memberships, Sponsorships, and Transportation Project Art
State agencies spend more than $39.8 million a year on advertising, memberships, sponsorships and transportation project art. This includes funding for an organization that lobbied for Obamacare, the “Stimulus Package” and radical climate change policy initiatives. In previous tough years for state government, the state has placed a moratorium on non-essential spending like the requirement that new road and bridge projects include art. A 3-year moratorium on non-essential agency advertising, memberships, sponsorships and arts on transportation projects (unless required as a condition of federal law) would save annually $39 million.

Consolidation of Administrative and Back Office Functions of Higher Education
Former Rep. David Dank was most known for his work to highlight the vast administrative growth in higher education. He regularly noted that Oklahoma has 52 higher education centers and a number of state colleges and universities far higher than many other states. Oklahoma’s higher education non-teaching overhead (as a percentage of the private-sector workforce) is an astonishing 61 percent greater than the national average. If Oklahoma eliminated non-instructional higher education positions to reach the national average, it would result in elimination of 12,000 positions and save $328 million in wages and salaries. By cutting just 10 percent of this total number and consolidating back office functions, eliminating non-essential administration such as the numerous former politicians and political staffers who have made their way to higher education, the state would save annually $32.8 million.

Repeal Sales Tax Exemption for Tickets to NBA and NHL Games Effective on July 1, 2017
Repealing the sales tax exemption for tickets to National Basketball Association and National Hockey League Games would save annually $2.2 million.

Repeal Sales Tax Exemption for Admission to Professional Sporting Events Effective July 1, 2017
Repealing the sales tax exemption for admission to professional sporting events would save annually $492,000.

Repeal Zero Emission Tax Credit for Any New Projects or Activity Effective on July 1, 2017
Repealing the Zero Emission Tax Credit for any new projects or activity effective July 1, 2017 or after would conservatively save $15 million per year.

Cap Zero Emission Tax Credit Liability Payout at $15 million Annually Effective July 1, 2017
Capping the annual payout of the zero emission tax credit existing liabilities at $15 million (the same level for economically at-risk wells) would conservatively save the state $50 million, since the total annual liability is conservatively estimated at $65 million. This reform would save annually $50 million.

Cap Ad Valorem Reimbursement for Wind at $15 million Effective July 1, 2017
Wind energy developers made multiple representations to lawmakers and the public when wind incentives were first adopted that the cost of the incentives would be very low. In fact, payment of the incentives has caused the state to borrow from other funds for 33 percent of the most recent fiscal year. Wind facilities were given a special carve-out to be added for the purposes of ad-valorem reimbursement by state taxpayers and the wind projects increased significantly the amount state taxpayers are on the hook for ad-valorem reimbursement for wind. Capping the ad valorem reimbursement for wind at $15 million would conservatively save the state $15 million, since the total annual ad-valorem reimbursement for wind is approximately $30 million. This reform would conservatively save annually $15 million.

Repeal Sales Tax Exemption on Wind Turbine Sales Effective July 1, 2017
The Oklahoma Incentive Review Commission has noted that Oklahoma has already exceeded its renewable energy goals. The Commission also found “that a significant portion of the expected new development in wind facilities is to provide energy for transmission to users in other states. In this case, there is no real benefit for Oklahoma consumers in subsidizing the generation of this electricity.” Given these findings and the substantial amount that taxpayers are on the hook for wind tax credits, it makes sense to repeal this sales tax exemption to help balance the state budget. FERC interconnect filings show that as many as 3,152 new turbines are planned for Oklahoma. Since the total liability is estimated at $284 million for 2017, repealing this sales tax exemption would conservatively save the state $40 million.

Repeal the “Hollywood Subsidy” Film Incentive Effective July 1, 2017
The state of Oklahoma pays a subsidy for films made in Oklahoma. It’s absurd to ask Oklahomans to subsidize Hollywood while threatening Oklahomans with tax increases. This program is capped at $5 million a year so savings from this reform would save annually $5 million.

Tobacco Settlement Reforms
(Does nothing to take away from any existing TSET programs, grant commitments or the current endowment)
This reform would require a vote of the people at a special election. All future payments to the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust from the Master Settlement agreement would be directed to a rural healthcare infrastructure fund. This fund would be used for the cost of health care reimbursement to rural areas that struggle with revenue stream diversity for their hospitals and have suffered actual dollar losses. The fund would also be used to fund the Physician Manpower Training Commission and shore up nursing home provider rates. This would not change any of TSET’s current activity and would allow them to keep their existing endowment, earnings and current commitments. Annual settlement payments to the endowment are approximately $57 million. Shifting those funds to these new initiatives will allow for replacing funds that will be cut from the unsustainable Medicaid budget to prevent unwarranted tax increases on Oklahomans. This reform will annually save $57 million.

Total Savings: $413 million

Gary Richardson forms gubernatorial exploratory committee


Gary Richardson Announces Exploratory Committee for Governor of Oklahoma 

Tulsa, OK, February 21, 2017–  Former Reagan-appointed U.S. Attorney and small business owner Gary Richardson has announced the formation of his exploratory committee for Governor of Oklahoma.

"The current budget crisis in Oklahoma proves to me that Oklahoma isn't a poor state but a state run poorly." said Richardson.  "It's important that the people of Oklahoma have a Governor who will make the right decisions to get our state out of this budget crisis without raising taxes."

Richardson shared the next steps of his exploratory committee. "In the following months, I will travel across the state to visit with Oklahomans and listen to their concerns about taxes, education, and the economy of our state," said Richardson.  "Oklahomans know what is best for our state.  It's time their leaders heed their concerns."

Richardson has asked the following Oklahomans to serve on his exploratory committee:  Todd Dean, Oklahoma City; Dr. James Higgins, Tulsa; Steve Money, Broken Arrow; Bob Nail, Tulsa; Jeff Reasor, Tahlequah; and Jim Weaver, Tulsa.   Together with the input from Oklahoma voters and his committee, Richardson will explore the viability of a run for the GOP nomination for Governor in 2018.

Gary Richardson is a founding member of the law firm, Richardson, Richardson, and Boudreaux.  Gary and his wife, Lanna, reside in Tulsa. Together, they have five children and eleven grandchildren. They are active members of South Tulsa Baptist Church.  To learn more, please visit GaryRichardson.org.

Here's his video announcement: