Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Did Fallin botch her veto?

During yesterday's meeting of the House Special Investigative Committee, looking into the Oklahoma Department of Health scandal, State Rep. Josh Cockroft (R-Wanette) turned up an interesting question: did Governor Fallin botch her veto of the special session budget bill to the point that no agency is currently operating with a legal budget?

Fallin's veto of the measure left off a crucial word that Cockroft, chairman of the committee, is concerned might have had the effect of vetoing the entire budget, which would create a massive legal crisis if it's the case.

More on this from OKC's FOX25 (if the video fails to work here, visit the link):



 Here's a tweet from FOX25's Phil Cross on the issue (more tweets here):




Murdock wins SD27 GOP Primary



State Rep. Casey Murdock (R-Felt) emerged victorious in the field of six Republican candidates seeking the nomination in the Senate District 27 special election primary held today.

Preliminary results from the Oklahoma Election Board:

  1. Casey Murdock - 33.17%
  2. Travis Templin - 28.23%
  3. Carolyn McLarty - 23.12%
  4. Jeff Hall - 12.81%
  5. Tommy Nicholson - 1.78%
  6. Michael Medill - 0.9%


Murdock will face Democrat Amber Jensen in the February 13, 2018 general election. If Murdock defeats Jensen, no special election will be held for the HD61 seat he currently holds, and the seat will remain vacant until the winner of the November 2018 election is sworn in.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Music Monday: Who Is He In Yonder Stall

This week's Music Monday is Who Is He In Yonder Stall, sung by the Collingsworth Family (a Southern gospel group).



Enjoy!

See below for all previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to suggest for a future Music Monday? Email me at JamisonFaught@MuskogeePolitico.com.


December 4th, 2017: Carol of the Bells (Mannheim Steamroller)
November 27th, 2017: Joy to the World!
November 20th, 2017: We Gather Together
November 13th, 2017: Mansions of the Lord
November 6th, 2017: Träumerei
October 30th: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
October 23rd, 2017: In Christ Alone
October 16th, 2017: When I'm Knee Deep In Bluegrass
October 9th, 2017: I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb
October 2nd, 2017: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major (Brahms)
September 25th, 2017: Beethoven's Sonata No. 8 in C minor ('Pathétique')
September 11th, 2017: Have You Forgotten?
September 4th, 2017: Bach's Double Violin Concerto
August 28th, 2017: Noah Found Grace In The Eyes Of The Lord
August 21st, 2017: The Heavens Are Telling The Glory of God
August 14th, 2017: Beethoven's 5th Symphony
August 7th, 2017: 'Lift High The Name Of Jesus' medley
July 31st, 2017: Fanfare for the Common Man
July 24th, 2017: Variations on 'Happy Birthday'
July 10th, 2017: Summer (Presto) from Vivaldi's Four Seasons
July 3rd, 2017: Freelance Fireworks Hall of Fame
June 26th, 2017: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
June 19th, 2017: A Christian Home
June 12th, 2017: Ol' Man River
June 5th, 2017: Choctaw Cowboy
May 29th, 2017: Armed Forces Salute
May 22nd, 2017: Double Bass Concerto No.2 in B minor
May 15th, 2017: Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D major
May 8th, 2017: The Army Goes Rolling Along
April 17th, 2017: He Is Alive
April 10th, 2017: Surely He Hath Borne/And With His Stripes/All We Like Sheep
April 3rd, 2017: Here Comes Carolina
March 27th, 2017: 'Spring' from Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons'
March 20th, 2017: Symphony No. 5 ("Reformation") Finale
March 13th, 2017: The Pigeon on the Gate
March 6th, 2017: Finlandia
February 27th, 2017: When I Can Read My Title Clear
February 20th, 2017: William Tell Overture - Finale
February 13th, 2017: 'Romance' from 'The Gadfly'
February 6th, 2017: White Winter Hymnal
January 30th, 2017: Hail, Columbia
January 23rd, 2017: Hail to the Chief
January 16th, 2017: Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy
January 2nd, 2017: Auld Lang Syne
December 26th, 2016: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
December 19th, 2016: I Wonder as I Wander
December 12th, 2016: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
December 5th, 2016: A Christmas Festival
November 28th, 2016: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
November 21st: Beethoven's 'Hymn of Thanksgiving'
November 14th: Hymn to the Fallen
November 7th: This World Is Not My Home
October 31st, 2016: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
October 24th, 2016: 'Mars', from 'The Planets'
October 17th, 2016: My Shepherd Will Supply My Need
October 10th, 2016: Spain
October 3rd, 2016: International Harvester
September 26th, 2016: 'The Imperial March' from Star Wars
September 19th, 2016: Awake the Trumpet's Lofty Sound
September 12th, 2016: Before the Throne of God Above
September 5th, 2016: The Hunt
August 29th, 2016: Liberty
August 22nd, 2016: Summon the Heroes
August 15th, 2016: Bugler's Dream
August 8th, 2016: Olympic Fanfare and Theme
August 1st, 2016: 'Prelude' and 'Parade of the Charioteers' from Ben-Hur
July 25th, 2016: How The West Was Won
July 18th, 2016: Six Studies in English Folk Song
July 11th, 2016: From Everlasting To Everlasting
July 4th, 2016: The Stars and Stripes Forever
June 27th, 2016: Rule, Britannia!
June 20st, 2016: Bugler's Holiday
June 13th, 2016: Ride of the Valkyries
June 6th, 2016: Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54, Allegro Vivace
May 30th, 2016: Armed Forces Salute
May 23rd, 2016: Paid in Full (Through Jesus, Amen)
May 16th, 2016: Overture from 'Carmen'
May 9th, 2016: L'Arlesienne Suite No. 1 - Prelude
May 2nd, 2016: My God Is a Rock
April 25th, 2016: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
April 18th, 2016: Paganini's Caprice No. 24 in A Minor
April 11th, 2016: Fantasia on a 17th Century Tune
April 4th, 2016: Hark The Sound/I'm a Tarheel Born
March 28th, 2016: Rustle of Spring
March 21st, 2016: 'Ode to Joy' sung by a 10,000-voice choir
March 14th, 2016: Hard Times Come Again No More
March 7th, 2016: 'The Suite' from Downton Abbey
February 29th, 2016: Moonlight Sonata
February 22nd, 2016: Liebestraum No. 3
February 15th, 2016: Help Is On The Way
February 8th, 2016: God of Grace and God of Glory
February 1st, 2016: 'My Story'
January 25th, 2016: Israeli Concertino
January 18th, 2016: What Grace is Mine
January 11th, 2016: "Meditation" from Thaïs
January 4th, 2016: Praeludium and Allegro
December 28th, 2015: Appalachian Carol
December 21st, 2015: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
December 14th, 2015: O Holy Night
December 7th, 2015: Christmas Fantasy
November 23rd, 2015: Simple Gifts
November 16th, 2015: Preacher Tell Me Like It Is
November 9th, 2015: Armed Forces Salute
November 2nd, 2015: Amazing Grace
October 26th, 2015: The Harmonious Blacksmith
October 19th, 2015: Liberty Fanfare
October 12th, 2015: The Majesty and Glory of Your Name
October 5th, 2015: Elgar's 'Enigma' Finale
September 28th, 2015: Stayed on Jesus
September 21st, 2015: Great Gate of Kiev
September 14th, 2015: Nearer, My God, To Thee

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Stitt hits Lamb on Tourism Dep't problems, crashed campaign call

In recent days, Republican gubernatorial candidate Kevin Stitt has been hitting fellow GOP candidate and incumbent Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb on two different fronts.

The first issue is over the "crashing" of a Stitt campaign conference call by Lamb's campaign manager, Keith Beall. Joining the call after receiving a text message informing him that he was missing a campaign call, Beall believes he was "snookered" into falling for a political trick.

Stitt is pressing Lamb's campaign for information on who informed Beall of the call, while on their part the Lamb campaign told FOX 25 that they will "spend no more time on the subject", and instead "focus... on substantive issues".

The second topic Stitt has launched an attack from (similar to another GOP candidate, Gary Richardson) is tying Lamb to problems at the Oklahoma Department of Tourism. See the press release below:


GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE KEVIN STITT ASKS WHY LT. GOVERNOR FAILED TO ADDRESS TOURISM AGENCY IN ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT GOVERNMENT REFORM

TULSA, Oklahoma (Nov. 30, 2017) – Kevin Stitt, a Tulsa businessman and Republican gubernatorial candidate, released the following statement today in response to Todd Lamb’s gubernatorial campaign ethics proposal at the State Capitol:

“It is concerning that in response to a federal government investigation into Oklahoma’s Department of Tourism, the chair of the agency would fail to address this latest state government scandal. The Tourism Department is without an internal auditor and the agency is potentially engaged in illegal activity, and the Lt. Governor’s response is wholly inadequate and insufficient.

“State government has been racked in recent months with repeated instances of misconduct and mismanagement. We need a culture change at the State Capitol while also acknowledging very egregious – and potentially illegal – activity at our state agencies. It is time for wholesale change of Oklahoma’s state government.

“Only a conservative political outsider leading a group of concerned citizens can deliver real, needed change.”

On Wednesday evening, KOKH-TV’s Phil Cross broke a news story that the U.S. Department of Labor is investigating the Oklahoma Tourism Department.

This election cycle is just beginning, and it's going to get interesting.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Admiral Greg Slavonic (Ret) endorses Hern for Congress


Greg Slavonic Endorses Kevin Hern For Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional Seat

Tulsa, OK – Retired Navy Rear Admiral Greg Slavonic has endorsed Kevin Hern for Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional Seat being vacated by Representative Jim Bridenstine after he was nominated by President Trump to head NASA.

“Kevin Hern is the best candidate to keep our military and navy well equipped and always vigilant to defend against any enemy. He will take care of our veterans who have kept us free and secure," stated Slavonic. "He knows what needs to be fixed so we can get back to a robust economy. Kevin Hern is the only candidate with the demonstrated leadership ability to finish the job.”

Serving the Navy through several additional combat tours, including but not limited to Operation Desert Shield/Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom II, Rear Adm. Slavonic served as the U.S. Navy’s Deputy to the Chief of Information in Washington, D.C. and Director of Public Affairs (Reserve) from June 2001 to 2005. In this role, he served as deputy to the Chief of Information responsible for all aspects of the Navy’s Public Affairs Program and adviser on Strategic Communications issues.

“It seemed fitting to announce this endorsement from fellow Oklahoman and a renowned Navy Admiral on the day that we remember our fallen Navy heroes at Pearl Harbor," said Hern. "This day reminds us that we must always remain strong and vigilant. We need to rebuild and revitalize our armed forces to keep our nation secure. This requires an economy that is postured for steady and sustained growth, year over year. Admiral Slavonic knows that I am the only candidate in the race with firsthand experience in dealing with so many regulations that shackle our small businesses and ultimately our entire free-market economy. I am proud to have Admiral Slavonic’s endorsement.”

As the owner of KTAK Corporation, Kevin leads the operations that own ten McDonald’s restaurants that employ over 400 people in the Tulsa area. Kevin has served in various regional and national leadership positions within the McDonald’s Franchise System. Most recently, he served 5 years as the Chairman of the Systems Economic Team for over 3,000 franchisees that own all 15,000 restaurants across the entire country.

Fallin Sets 2nd Special Session Date for December 18th

Looks like Governor Fallin was dead-serious about putting the Legislature in session on Christmas. In order to pass any tax increases the Legislature would need to be in session for at least ten legislative days; even if the legislature met on Saturday and Sunday, the quickest they could be done would be the 27th of December.



Governor Mary Fallin Sets Second Special Session Date

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today set the date for lawmakers to return in special session to address the shortfall in the current fiscal year budget.

The governor set the beginning date of the second extraordinary session of the 56th Legislature to convene Monday, Dec. 18.

Fallin did not file an executive order, or an official call, for the special session. She will do that at a later date.

“Discussions are continuing with legislators and Oklahomans in all types of professions from across the state on a long-term, predictable solution to fix our budget and fund core services,” said Fallin. “Budget plan estimates are being developed on various revenue proposals. Instead of waiting for final details, I wanted to give legislators enough notice as possible about when they should return to the Capitol.

“This will also give us time to get the latest revenue estimates for the upcoming 2019 fiscal year. A preliminary estimate of available funds for legislative appropriation will be available that week for the Dec. 20 meeting of the Board of Equalization. I am hopeful the estimate will show revenue growth for the 2019 fiscal year. But even if it does, there will be a need for additional revenue to address the combination of one-time funds currently in the budget, the current fiscal year shortfall from the loss of cigarette fee revenue, spending obligations for 2019, and money to give our teachers and state employees a much-needed pay raise. These items taken together will approach close to $800 million.

“As I travel across the state I see signs of positive economic activity, and I believe the future looks bright for the state,” the governor said. “However, I expect any additional growth in revenue coming to the state treasury will not be enough to put us on the stable foundation we want to see and give teachers a raise. In recent years, we have patched over our problems by using one-time money that, in effect, borrows from Peter to pay Paul. We know we still have a budget hole for this fiscal year of about $111 million from the loss of cigarette fee revenue that will result in cuts that the Health Care Authority will need to make starting January 1 and the Department of Human Services by February 1 if we don’t identify more funding.

“Before the session begins, I intend to make specific recommendations on how we can balance the budget and meet our immediate needs. I’ll be working with legislative leaders and others with the goal of having at least the outline of an agreement ready for legislators later this month.”

The governor last month vetoed most of the revised budget bill approved by legislators in the special session. She kept intact parts of the bill that temporarily preserved funding for key health and human services until lawmakers return in another special session to approve long-term funding solutions.

She vetoed all but five of the 170 sections contained in the budget measure, saying it did not provide a long-term solution to the re-occurring budget deficits experienced by the state the past three years. The current 2018 fiscal year budget includes $509 million of one-time funds and future obligations of at least $180 million not included in the 2018 fiscal year budget, which combined results in a starting deficit of almost $700 million for the 2019 fiscal year.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Gary Richardson is right about performance audits



Over the past several months, it has been revealed that several state agencies have misspent, mismanaged, and misreported taxpayer funds, and failed to follow state and federal law in other ways.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Gary Richardson has made calling for performance audits of state agencies a key plank of his campaign platform, including going back to his 2002 gubernatorial run. More than any other candidate this cycle, Richardson has made spending accountability and transparency a top issue.

Richardson is right.

A common refrain heard from agency and department heads is that they have already "cut to the bone", and that there is no more superfluous spending left to eliminate. That was heard before it was revealed that...


Performance audits into other agencies may well discover similar issues. I wrote recently how some agencies have spent thousands of dollars on social media advertising, and encouraged citizens and state workers to help expose waste and unnecessary spending in state government. Following that, three state representatives invited whistleblowers among state employee and vendors to email them with tips, and the House Investigative Committee established a special whistleblower hotline.

The most effective way to expose waste and illegalities in state agencies is, as Richardson rightly points out, to conduct regular performance audits. The spending of taxpayer money should be tightly controlled, and every penny should be spent as frugally as possible and for the purpose intended. As recent revelations have shown, in the darkness that the lack of thorough oversight brings, that is not happening.

In a recent press release, Richardson pledged "As Governor, I would start at the top and mandate audits on the 12 state agencies with budgets of more than $50 million. And I will push for new legislation requiring audits of every single state agency, trust and authority every four years."

The upcoming Republican primary in the gubernatorial race will certainly be interesting. There are several candidates deserving of attention and consideration (others, less so). Richardson is taking a lead role on drawing attention to this important issue, while others have been relatively silent.

On the issue of performance audits and agency accountability, Gary Richardson is right.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Music Monday: Carol of the Bells (Mannheim Steamroller)

This week's Music Monday is Carol of the Bells, played by Mannheim Steamroller. The group (and this song of theirs) is a favorite of conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, who plays snippets of their Christmas albums on his nationally-syndicated show this time of year.



Enjoy!

See below for all previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to suggest for a future Music Monday? Email me at JamisonFaught@MuskogeePolitico.com.


November 27th, 2017: Joy to the World!
November 20th, 2017: We Gather Together
November 13th, 2017: Mansions of the Lord
November 6th, 2017: Träumerei
October 30th: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
October 23rd, 2017: In Christ Alone
October 16th, 2017: When I'm Knee Deep In Bluegrass
October 9th, 2017: I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb
October 2nd, 2017: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major (Brahms)
September 25th, 2017: Beethoven's Sonata No. 8 in C minor ('Pathétique')
September 11th, 2017: Have You Forgotten?
September 4th, 2017: Bach's Double Violin Concerto
August 28th, 2017: Noah Found Grace In The Eyes Of The Lord
August 21st, 2017: The Heavens Are Telling The Glory of God
August 14th, 2017: Beethoven's 5th Symphony
August 7th, 2017: 'Lift High The Name Of Jesus' medley
July 31st, 2017: Fanfare for the Common Man
July 24th, 2017: Variations on 'Happy Birthday'
July 10th, 2017: Summer (Presto) from Vivaldi's Four Seasons
July 3rd, 2017: Freelance Fireworks Hall of Fame
June 26th, 2017: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
June 19th, 2017: A Christian Home
June 12th, 2017: Ol' Man River
June 5th, 2017: Choctaw Cowboy
May 29th, 2017: Armed Forces Salute
May 22nd, 2017: Double Bass Concerto No.2 in B minor
May 15th, 2017: Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D major
May 8th, 2017: The Army Goes Rolling Along
April 17th, 2017: He Is Alive
April 10th, 2017: Surely He Hath Borne/And With His Stripes/All We Like Sheep
April 3rd, 2017: Here Comes Carolina
March 27th, 2017: 'Spring' from Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons'
March 20th, 2017: Symphony No. 5 ("Reformation") Finale
March 13th, 2017: The Pigeon on the Gate
March 6th, 2017: Finlandia
February 27th, 2017: When I Can Read My Title Clear
February 20th, 2017: William Tell Overture - Finale
February 13th, 2017: 'Romance' from 'The Gadfly'
February 6th, 2017: White Winter Hymnal
January 30th, 2017: Hail, Columbia
January 23rd, 2017: Hail to the Chief
January 16th, 2017: Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy
January 2nd, 2017: Auld Lang Syne
December 26th, 2016: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
December 19th, 2016: I Wonder as I Wander
December 12th, 2016: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
December 5th, 2016: A Christmas Festival
November 28th, 2016: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
November 21st: Beethoven's 'Hymn of Thanksgiving'
November 14th: Hymn to the Fallen
November 7th: This World Is Not My Home
October 31st, 2016: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
October 24th, 2016: 'Mars', from 'The Planets'
October 17th, 2016: My Shepherd Will Supply My Need
October 10th, 2016: Spain
October 3rd, 2016: International Harvester
September 26th, 2016: 'The Imperial March' from Star Wars
September 19th, 2016: Awake the Trumpet's Lofty Sound
September 12th, 2016: Before the Throne of God Above
September 5th, 2016: The Hunt
August 29th, 2016: Liberty
August 22nd, 2016: Summon the Heroes
August 15th, 2016: Bugler's Dream
August 8th, 2016: Olympic Fanfare and Theme
August 1st, 2016: 'Prelude' and 'Parade of the Charioteers' from Ben-Hur
July 25th, 2016: How The West Was Won
July 18th, 2016: Six Studies in English Folk Song
July 11th, 2016: From Everlasting To Everlasting
July 4th, 2016: The Stars and Stripes Forever
June 27th, 2016: Rule, Britannia!
June 20st, 2016: Bugler's Holiday
June 13th, 2016: Ride of the Valkyries
June 6th, 2016: Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54, Allegro Vivace
May 30th, 2016: Armed Forces Salute
May 23rd, 2016: Paid in Full (Through Jesus, Amen)
May 16th, 2016: Overture from 'Carmen'
May 9th, 2016: L'Arlesienne Suite No. 1 - Prelude
May 2nd, 2016: My God Is a Rock
April 25th, 2016: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
April 18th, 2016: Paganini's Caprice No. 24 in A Minor
April 11th, 2016: Fantasia on a 17th Century Tune
April 4th, 2016: Hark The Sound/I'm a Tarheel Born
March 28th, 2016: Rustle of Spring
March 21st, 2016: 'Ode to Joy' sung by a 10,000-voice choir
March 14th, 2016: Hard Times Come Again No More
March 7th, 2016: 'The Suite' from Downton Abbey
February 29th, 2016: Moonlight Sonata
February 22nd, 2016: Liebestraum No. 3
February 15th, 2016: Help Is On The Way
February 8th, 2016: God of Grace and God of Glory
February 1st, 2016: 'My Story'
January 25th, 2016: Israeli Concertino
January 18th, 2016: What Grace is Mine
January 11th, 2016: "Meditation" from Thaïs
January 4th, 2016: Praeludium and Allegro
December 28th, 2015: Appalachian Carol
December 21st, 2015: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
December 14th, 2015: O Holy Night
December 7th, 2015: Christmas Fantasy
November 23rd, 2015: Simple Gifts
November 16th, 2015: Preacher Tell Me Like It Is
November 9th, 2015: Armed Forces Salute
November 2nd, 2015: Amazing Grace
October 26th, 2015: The Harmonious Blacksmith
October 19th, 2015: Liberty Fanfare
October 12th, 2015: The Majesty and Glory of Your Name
October 5th, 2015: Elgar's 'Enigma' Finale
September 28th, 2015: Stayed on Jesus
September 21st, 2015: Great Gate of Kiev
September 14th, 2015: Nearer, My God, To Thee

Richardson hits Lamb for Ethics Reform plan


GARY RICHARDSON BLASTS HYPOCRISY OF LAMB’S ETHICS PLAN

December 4, 2017 -- GOP candidate for Governor, Gary Richardson, is challenging Lt. Governor Todd Lamb’s so-called “Reform In Government” plan.  Among Lamb’s proposals, he calls for tighter regulation of lobbyist donations which, Richardson points out, appears quite disingenuous coming from the Lt. Governor. 

    “Todd Lamb has taken more than $5800 in gifts from lobbyists so far.  This is tantamount to a 400 lb. doctor telling a patient to lose weight,” Gary Richardson says.  “Lobbyists have showered Lamb with everything from lavish dinners to Final Four basketball tickets.  It’s ironic Lamb wants to crack down on lobbyists while saying absolutely nothing about fixing the rampant corruption and mismanagement within his own Tourism Department.”

    The malfeasance at the Lt. Governor's Tourism Department was uncovered last week in an investigative report that aired on Fox 25 News in Oklahoma City.

    “What’s worse?  The lobbyist who gives the gifts or the lawmaker who cheerfully accepts the gifts?” says Richardson. “Todd Lamb is the personification of everything wrong with State Government and the poster boy for Oklahoma’s current crisis.  As Governor, I will never accept gifts from lobbyists.  My only special interest is serving the people of Oklahoma with responsible and transparent government.”

    Gary Richardson is a native Oklahoman, a former US Attorney appointed by President Reagan, and founder of a successful law firm in Tulsa.

    For more information on Gary Richardson’s campaign for Governor of Oklahoma visit his website at www.GaryRichardson.org.


Small: SQ 640 protects taxpayers


SQ 640 protects taxpayers

If you want to regulate speech, you belittle the First Amendment. If you want to confiscate guns, you vilify the Second Amendment.

In Oklahoma, if you want to reach into taxpayers’ wallets for more cash, you denounce the constitutional protections established by State Question 640, which was approved by voters in 1992.

In case some forgot, 640 is that annoying rule on revenue-raising measures. With it, voters took back some of their power. The measure first calls for Oklahoma voter approval on tax increases. Or, alternatively, the Legislature could pass tax increases with a supermajority of at least 75 percent in each chamber.

For working Oklahoma families, 640 offers some protection from the threat of constant tax increases. Before it passed, simple majorities easily raised taxes without concern for Oklahoma’s economy. For example, House Bill 1017 passed in 1990, which raised taxes by more than $200 million.

If history doesn’t necessarily repeat itself, it echoes. Look at where we are today. We have a downturn in Oklahoma’s oil and gas economy, and a state government frantically searching for more than $400 million to spend instead of making tough choices.

As you might expect, some lawmakers are now looking to wage war against 640. They claim it confines government by making any revenue-raising measures impossible to pass. But that’s not true.

In 2009, 2010, and 2011, legislators organized bipartisan supermajorities to pass bills that raised some $224 million in new annual state funds and $268 million in annual matching federal dollars. Press releases from the executive branch, Board of Equalization reports, and legislative budget summaries show that the 2015, 2016, and 2017 legislative sessions combined to annually increase revenue for appropriation by more than $500 million. Also, Oklahoma has raised personal income tax rates and cigarette taxes since 640 was adopted by voters.

So mostly during Republican majorities elected control, annually recurring revenues were raised more than $724.7 million.

Oklahoma is hurting because Oklahomans are hurting. When times are tough, state government must do everything possible to adjust spending to match income, just like the rest of us. When we easily give government more money, it finds a way to quickly spend it. Then, it returns next year asking for more.

Oklahoma taxpayers are grateful to have 640 in the books. Lawmakers should respect taxpayers instead of waging war against 640.

Jonathan Small serves as president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (www.ocpathink.org).

Sunday, December 03, 2017

New member of the team!

We got a new "team member" last Sunday night -- say hello to Clayton Garrett Faught!


Big sister Carmen was excited to meet him!

He alternates between bright-eyed and wide-awake...

... and snoozing.

Blogging has been a little less of a priority, but should pick up some soon. In the meantime, be sure and check out the various blogs and news sites I've linked to both on the sidebar and on the Links page.

SoonerPolitics.org in particular is a great "clearinghouse", with links to the writings of many different activists, analysts, journalists, lawmakers, and policy groups.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Coburn and Keating endorse McLarty in SD27 Special Election

In the Senate District 27 special election triggered by State Sen. Bryce Marlatt's resignation after being charged with felony sexual battery, the race appears to be between State Rep. Casey Murdock (Conservative Performance Index score of -15.6 in 2016, by far the worst among all GOP legislators) and OKGOP National Committeewoman Carolyn McLarty.

This week, McLarty scored some huge news in gaining the endorsements of former U.S. Senator Tom Coburn and former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating.

The primary for this race is Tuesday, December 12th.


Frank Keating, Dr. Tom Coburn Endorse Dr. Carolyn McLarty for State Senate

(Woodward, OK, November 27th, 2017): Dr. Carolyn McLarty this morning announced that her State Senate campaign in the District 27 special election has been endorsed by former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating and former U.S. Senator Dr. Tom Coburn.

"Carolyn McLarty has long embraced the family focused, free market and public integrity agenda of true Republican conservatives," said former Governor Keating. "She will be an excellent and admired legislator. Her win is a win for Oklahoma."

"For as long as I’ve known her, Carolyn McLarty has worked each day to remind us what it means to be a Republican. Carolyn's conservative principles are rock solid," said Dr. Coburn. "Less government in our daily lives. Local control of our local schools. Lower taxes on working families and small-business employers. Keep government decision-making close to home, rather than in the hands of bureaucrats in Washington, D.C."

"I’m proud to support Carolyn McLarty for state Senate, and I ask Republicans in Northwest Oklahoma to join me," Coburn continued. "Common-sense conservatives like Carolyn are needed at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City."

Governor Keating and Dr. Coburn join a growing list of Oklahomans who have endorsed Carolyn McLarty in her bid for State Senate.

"I am pleased to have the support of these leaders in the conservative movement," said McLarty.  "As a State Senator, I will work for limited government, a balanced budget, and protection of individual liberty, natural rights, and personal moral responsibility."

Dr. Carolyn McLarty owned the Animal Care Clinic in Woodward from 1988-2007.  She has represented Oklahoma on the Republican National Committee since 2008, and is a former Chairman of the Woodward County Republican Party and the Woodward County Republican Women.  The Eagle Forum honored Carolyn as the Oklahoma Eagle of the Year in 2012.

Rep. Taylor Welcomes Lamb Support for Ethics Reform


Taylor Welcomes Lamb Support for Ethics Reform

OKLAHOMA CITY (Nov. 30th, 2017)  – State Rep. Zack Taylor today said he welcomes Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb's support of an ethics reform bill authored by Taylor during the recent special session.

Taylor authored the bill in October after more legislators resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct. The bill aims to improve the ethical behavior of those who serve in the Legislature, while holding accountable those who conduct themselves dishonorably.

“I am pleased that Lieutenant Governor Lamb is joining my effort to hold lawmakers to a higher standard,” said Taylor, R-Seminole. “That people recognize the importance of accountability in individuals serving in government is encouraging for society as a whole. I look forward to continuing work on this issue in the coming legislative session, and I certainly welcome any support Lieutenant Governor Lamb can offer."

Lamb announced a plan today that would require any legislator resigning his or her seat before the end of a term to forgo any state retirement related to the office until the cost of a special election (with interest) is repaid to the state, forgoing several extenuating circumstances. Campaign funds of lawmakers resigning mid-term would be returned to the state Election Board. The plan also would require any legislator missing 40 percent or more floor votes one month or later into the regular legislative session to be expelled, again minus extenuating circumstances.

The bill filed by Taylor in October would force lawmakers found to be guilty of dishonorable conduct to forfeit their retirement benefits and remaining campaign funds, and would require new lawmakers to sign a waiver acknowledging they would forfeit these funds and benefits should they exhibit such behavior while in office.

House Bill 1067 was filed in advance of the special legislative session. While the bill was not heard during the special session, it can still be considered in the regular legislative session.

“Lawmakers who resign in disgrace should not continue to receive state benefits or be able to retain their campaign funds once found to be guilty of misconduct,” Taylor said. “The Oklahoma taxpayer deserves to be protected from the embarrassment and costs that result from these scandals. I will continue to work for passage of this measure and I welcome any and all support from other leaders in our state."

Taylor was elected by special election in May. He is serving his first term representing Oklahoma House District 28, which includes Pottawatomie and Seminole Counties. He can be reached by phone at (405) 557-7372 or via email at zack.taylor@okhouse.gov.