It’s Time to Cut Wasteful Spending, NOT Raise Taxes
Today, Lt. Governor Todd Lamb announced his resignation from Governor Fallin’s cabinet, making the following statement:
“Governor Fallin deserves to have someone in her cabinet who can be a strong advocate for her agenda, and that is something I am unwilling to do. While I respect the determination with which Governor Fallin met her obligation to present a balanced budget to the legislature, I cannot support her proposed tax increases. This proposal will adversely harm Oklahoma’s small businesses and families, especially those in our service industry. While Governor Fallin and I have disagreed on issues from time-to-time, our differences on this important topic are so significant they preclude me from continuing to serve on her cabinet.”
As Chairman of the Republican Party of Tulsa County, I do not have the authority or the right to voice my opinions on behalf of all Tulsa Republicans. Very seldom (if ever) should an elected officer of the Republican Party make public statements criticizing our elected Republican officials, but I feel this is definitely an exception. We must stand strong on the conservative principles defined in our Platform. Governor Fallin has asked our Republican lawmakers to raise taxes on a massive scale in attempt to balance the Oklahoma budget. This plan not only defies one of the foundational pillars of Republicanism, but it also defies the basic fundamentals of economics. Oklahomans are already burdened with some of the highest taxes in our region; and yes, fees, permits, licensing, tolls, and other regulatory burdens on our businesses and families are indeed taxes.
Our Republican legislators ran for office by advocating for lower taxes and limited government, so something’s got to give. If Republicans continue kicking the can down the road by refusing to cut those hundreds of Million$ (if not Billion$) in government waste, and by taxing Oklahomans more, we will continue to alienate our base constituency (who expects Republican lawmakers to govern the way they campaigned), and we will surrender our majorities in both houses in 2018.
Governor Fallin campaigned as a fiscal Conservative, chaired the RNC Platform Committee and even signed pledges with tax reform organizations (see photo below) not to do so, yet she is proposing an tax policy that is destined to fail us as a Party, and its economically and electorally dangerous. Our Republican legislators cannot entertain her proposal and ignore the responsibility to make massive spending cuts in areas where we are literally wasting hundreds of Million$ in taxpayer dollars.
Long after governor Fallin is gone, the members of our state legislature will be left with the responsibility of governing, and with managing the consequences or benefits of fiscal decisions made by the Republican majority this year. It is for this reason that I applaud Lieutenant Governor Lamb’s actions today to object to these policies, and I encourage our elected Republicans in both the State House and State Senate to respectfully resist the governor’s call for tax increases.
Furthermore, I encourage Oklahoma’s elected Republicans (including Governor Fallin) to become emboldened with the resolve necessary to advance the conservative principles defined in our Party’s Platform. I implore them to think outside the box, daring to make history by utilizing our brightest people, disregarding the status quo, and reinventing government. It’s time to throw everything on the table (including your own sacred cows, and especially those of lobbyists and special interest groups) making tough, necessary decisions in the best interest of all Oklahomans.
We’ve had a supermajority since 2010. There is nobody else to blame for Oklahoma’s failure to offer reformed tax rates that end corporate welfare and create a fair, opportunistic and competitive economic environment to rival those of surrounding states. The opportunity has been there all along to develop a more diverse economy and broad tax base, which would end the turbulent instability of revenue shortages we experience every time the price of oil plummets.
We won’t get another chance in 2018. There won’t be popular presidential candidate or political rock stars running for U.S. senate or congress to excite the base for our down ticket legislative candidates. WE WILL LOSE DOZENS OF SEATS in 2018 if Oklahoma Republicans do not reduce the size of government, improve K-12 teacher pay, fix roads and bridges, and balance the budget. We CAN NOT raise taxes, but must instead REFORM this broken tax structure within the next 18 months. These issues were on the ballot last year. Republicans said (again) they had solutions to fix these problems (which they do), and the fortitude to carry out necessary reforms (which remains to be seen). These issues will be on the ballot again in 2018, with no political cover this time around.
It’s time for Oklahoma Republicans to make history by implementing the conservative principles we preach, proving to our citizens (and the rest of the country) that these principles work. It took us 100 years to earn this opportunity. We may never again have an opportunity like this, so the void of leadership and collective vision must be filled now.
Please call the office of Governor Mary Fallin and tell her “It’s time to cut wasteful spending, NOT raise taxes!
Local: (405) 521-2342
Fax: (405) 521-3353
Oklahoma State Capitol
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., Room 212
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Mike Ford, Chairman
Republican Party of Tulsa County