Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Pinnell dominates 4Q Lt. Governor Campaign Finance Reports


Continuing through the 4th Quarter campaign finance reports, we'll now look at the race for Lieutenant Governor. Four Republicans are in the race and have filed reports, while two Democrats have filed committees, and one has no finance reports posted. As with the gubernatorial race, totals below are race-to-date.

REPUBLICANS

Dominique Block
Total raised: $944.47
Total spent: $944.47
Total cash-on-hand: $0.00

Eddie Fields
Total raised: $79,686.65
Total spent: $14,412.86
Total cash-on-hand: $65,273.79

Dana Murphy
Total raised: $768,042.80 (includes $638,821.71 transferred from previous campaign account)
Total spent: $72,216.84
Total cash-on-hand: $690,350.57

Matt Pinnell
Total raised: $585,992.99 (includes $40,000 loan)
Total spent: $110,507.80
Total cash-on-hand: $450,410.96


Pinnell raised $113,739.76 this past quarter, compared to Murphy's $44,058.19 and Fields' $16,600. That sum for Pinnell is 65.22% of the 4th quarter contributions to all GOP Lieutenant Governor's candidates.


DEMOCRATS

Anna Dearmore
Total raised: $4,815.92
Total spent: $3,727.98
Total cash-on-hand: $1,087.94

4Q Gubernatorial Campaign Finance Reports


The 4th Quarter campaign finance reports have been submitted and posted on the Oklahoma Ethics Commission website. We'll look at the gubernatorial race in this post. All figures below are campaign-to-date.

REPUBLICANS
Total Raised: $7,835,180.59
Total Spent: $2,119,127.03
Total Cash-on-Hand: $5,593,149.62

Mick Cornett
Total raised: $1,134,033.82
Total spent: $431,883.60
Total cash-on-hand: $659,590.75

Dan Fisher
Total raised: $134,435.97 (includes $20,000 loan)
Total spent: $83,469.36
Total cash-on-hand: $44,971.07

Gary Jones
Total raised: $65,783.48
Total spent: $15,085.32
Total cash-on-hand: $49,404.63

Todd Lamb
Total raised: $3,123,922.23
Total spent: $459,254.87
Total cash-on-hand: $2,649,481.22

Gary Richardson
Total raised: $1,107,586.77 (includes $1,000,000 loan)
Total spent: $503,870.08
Total cash-on-hand: $602,612.69

Kevin Stitt
Total raised: $2,269,418.32 (includes $1,100,000 loan)
Total spent: $625,563.80
Total cash-on-hand: $1,587,089.26


DEMOCRATS
Total Raised: $1,071,636.00
Total Spent: $742,106.91
Total Cash-on-Hand: $318,879.67

Drew Edmondson
Total raised: $840,611.25 (includes $50,000 loan)
Total spent: $519,376.14
Total cash-on-hand: $310,902.19

Scott Inman (withdrawn)
Total raised: $180,060.14
Total spent: $180,060.14
Total cash-on-hand: $0

Connie Johnson
Total raised: $50,964.61
Total spent: $42,670.63
Total cash-on-hand: $7,977.48


LIBERTARIANS
Total Raised: $11,453.88
Total Spent: $3,129.71
Total Cash-on-Hand: $1,768.14

Rex Lawhorn (4th Quarter report not filed yet)
Total raised: $530
Total spent: $969.54 (in-kind)
Total cash-on-hand: $505

Joseph Maldonado
Total raised: $9,054.03 (~$6,800 in-kind)
Total spent: $2,231.25
Total cash-on-hand: $48.33

Chris Powell
Total raised: $1,869.85
Total spent: $520.69
Total cash-on-hand: $1,214.81

Stitt brings in $600k, most in gubernatorial field for 4Q


KEVIN STITT FOR GOVERNOR CAMPAIGN OUTRAISES ALL OTHER CANDIDATES FOR TWO CONSECUTIVE QUARTERS

TULSA, Oklahoma (Jan. 31, 2018) – Kevin Stitt’s campaign for governor continues to build a groundswell of support from Oklahomans who recognize our state faces a consequential time that requires a successful, proven leader from outside of the current Oklahoma political class.

The campaign announced today it has posted more than $2.2 million over the course of two fundraising quarters since the launch of the campaign, with more than $600,000 of it posting in the fourth quarter of 2017.

“I am excited that our movement has attracted a large number of Oklahomans who are making a strong donation for their first time in a primary race for our state’s next governor,” said Kevin Stitt. “The chaos at the State Capitol and failure to enact forward-thinking policy has been a wake-up call for many. More Republicans are engaging in the primary process, and I am honored they are getting behind our pro-growth vision to make Oklahoma a Top Ten state.”

Stitt has consistently said during the campaign that he would never ask anyone to do anything he would not do himself, which is why he has made the commitment to match every donation dollar-for-dollar. In the fourth quarter, 330 donors contributed a total of $301,505.79 that was then matched by Stitt to post more than $600,000.

Stitt’s approach to personal contributions demonstrates his confidence in being a dedicated, proven leader for Oklahoma while also holding fast to his belief that true success will ultimately come by partnering hand-in-hand with Oklahomans to bring new ideas to state government. 

“Over the past few months, I have placed my full focus on a comprehensive listening tour of Oklahoma. Our state can’t afford to continue recycling the same ideas from the same set of politicians,” Stitt continued. “Oklahomans want to see our state growing again, and this must start by addressing core structural issues with our government that have become the greatest impediment to enacting conservative priorities. I look forward to rolling out more of our platform, developed with the feedback and contributions of Oklahomans across the state, in the weeks ahead.”

In the campaign’s first fundraising quarter, Stitt received $811,147.27 in donations from more than 560 donors, outraising all other gubernatorial candidates in the third quarter that ended on Sept. 30, 2017. He then matched the total donation with a personal contribution.

Within two fundraising quarters, 887 individuals have contributed to the Stitt for Governor campaign. The campaign’s cash on hand places Stitt as a top contender for governor of Oklahoma.

Richardson blasts Lamb for statement on removing sales tax exemptions


GARY RICHARDSON BASHES LT. GOVERNOR’S PLAN TO TAX SCHOOL DISTRICTS, CHURCHES

    Conservative GOP Candidate for Governor, Gary Richardson, is cautioning fellow Republicans to reject the Lt. Governor’s call to eliminate all sales tax exemptions.  Todd Lamb announced this week he wants to begin taxing all currently exempt entities which includes struggling school districts, local churches and farmers in Oklahoma.

   “How could anyone in his right mind believe the solution to Oklahoma’s problems is to levy new taxes on schools, churches and farmers?” Gary Richardson asks.  "20% of our school districts are down to four-day school weeks, our churches serve the poor in our communities, and the last thing our farmers and ranchers need is another government burden.  I cannot think of a more illogical response than demanding a new state sales tax on every capital purchase made by schools, churches, farmers and ranchers. Oklahoma desperately needs systemic changes to its budgeting process but this scheme would place the burden squarely on the shoulders of our children and most vulnerable citizens.“

    Richardson has been advocating for forensic audits of every state agency to weed out fraud, waste and corruption before considering tax hike.

    "The idea of Lamb bringing something new to the table is absurd. He was a State Senator for seven years, he has been Lt. Governor for seven more years, how much more time does this guy need to accomplish something?" says Richardson.  "I have put together a plan with detailed solutions, specific economic impact and tremendous savings to the taxpayers of Oklahoma. We need a political outsider to govern this state.  If someone has been a public servant for 14 years, yet is unable to campaign on his own record, it’s clear we desperately need a change in leadership.  You cannot solve the problem if you are the problem.“

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

          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          

Bloggers note: Richardson seems to be referring to comments Lamb made in this article by the Oklahoman:
In speeches and interviews as he campaigns for governor, Lamb has called for modifying or removing some of the $6.7 billion in sales tax exemptions, the largest of which cover goods purchased for resale and goods bought by manufacturers.
Further in the article:
Unlike Fallin's call to consider expanding the sales tax to dozens of services, the exemptions are relatively few; and the top two account for $5.7 billion of the $6.7 billion Lamb would review.

The exemption of sales for resale totals $3.7 billion a year. It is a common exemption in states and includes retailers that don't pay state sales taxes on inventory they purchase to sell to consumers. The exemption for goods bought for use in manufacturing a product is worth $2 billion a year.

Of the remaining state sales tax exemptions, the ones for governmental entities, drugs, consumer utility bills and agricultural sales are the biggest. Some — including ones for churches and charities — would seem untouchable.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Former OKGOP Nat'l Committeeman Lynn Windel endorses Pinnell for LtGov


Former Oklahoma Republican Party National Committeeman and Long Time
Activist Lynn Windel Endorses Matt Pinnell for Lieutenant Governor

Oklahoma City – Republican lieutenant governor candidate Matt Pinnell announced today an endorsement from former Oklahoma Republican Party national committeeman and long time activist Lynn Windel from Ardmore.

“As legislators ready for another legislative session, it reinforces to me how important this 2018 election cycle is. Working with Matt at the Republican National Committee, I’ve had the experience of knowing and working closely with him. When I heard he was running for Lieutenant Governor, I couldn’t have been more enthusiastic to endorse Matt Pinnell for Lieutenant Governor,” said Windel.

Pinnell formerly served as the Oklahoma Republican Party State Chairman and recently served as the National State Party Director for the Republican National Committee, overseeing all 50 states.

“Having had the experience of working with Matt when he was State Chairman and I was National Committeeman, I know he has a strong work ethic and a natural ability to bring out the best in others,” continued Windel. “When representing Oklahoma, his youthful enthusiasm and good judgement will make him an excellent ambassador wherever his travels take him and I sincerely encourage you to join me in helping elect Matt Pinnell as our next Lieutenant Governor. You’ll be proud you did.”

Matt Pinnell lives in Tulsa with his wife Lisa and their four children, where they run a small business. Learn more at www.MattPinnell.com.

Tax Foundation: Step Up plan makes taxes "more complex and progressive"


Oklahoma Considering Income Tax Changes to Address Budget Shortfall

A new proposal in the state of Oklahoma would increase state income tax collections by $175.7 million. The income tax changes are part of a larger package of proposed tax increases to cover the state’s estimated $100 million budget shortfall, increase pay for educators, and fund other expenditures. The proposal would make several changes to the structure of Oklahoma’s personal income tax, resulting in some families seeing tax cuts and others seeing tax increases.


While the two lower intermediate brackets would reduce tax liability, they would also add more complexity and progressivity to the state’s income tax structure. If adopted, this proposal would give Oklahoma eight income tax brackets as opposed to its current six brackets. The nonrefundable, per return credit would also reduce tax liability for families within the income ranges outlined above.

The remaining components of the proposal would result in tax increases, as they subject more income to taxation. Capping itemized deductions would likely increase tax liability for higher income earners, as high-income earners tend to itemize rather than take the standard deduction. Reducing the standard deduction, then, would primarily affect lower income earners and likely lead to more households having income subject to the tax. Disallowing the personal exemption would likewise make more income subject to the tax.

Altogether, the proposal is estimated to increase tax liability for 45 percent of filers, to the tune of $175.7 million in new revenue. Households with AGI of $70,000 and higher would account for more than 75 percent of the increase.

These proposed changes make the tax structure more complex and progressive, not simpler or more neutral. Oklahoma has an opportunity at true tax reform that broadens bases and lowers rates to make the state more competitive. This plan falls short of that ideal.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Congressmen Beg Committee To Bring Back Earmarks

Former Senator Tom Coburn's 501(c)(3) educational non-profit organization, the Foundation to Restore Accountability, has a new project ('Pursuit') focused at reaching Millennials on the topics of government waste, the national debt, and holding government accountable.

Here's the latest video from Pursuit, following a two-day hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives that discussed bringing back the practice of earmarks.

Of note, 2nd District Congressman Markwayne Mullin makes an appearance, pleading for the revival of earmarking.

Music Monday: Hail to the Chief

In honor of President Trump's first State of the Union speech tomorrow, this week's Music Monday is Hail to the Chief, the official Presidential Anthem, with the rarely-sung lyrics by Albert Gamse.



Lyrics:
Hail to the Chief we have chosen for the nation, Hail to the Chief! We salute him, one and all. Hail to the Chief, as we pledge cooperation In proud fulfillment of a great, noble call.

Yours is the aim to make this grand country grander, This you will do, that is our strong, firm belief. Hail to the one we selected as commander, Hail to the President! Hail to the Chief!

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.


January 23rd, 2018: Waltz in A-Flat Major, Op. 39 No. 15
January 15th, 2018: Bleed The Same
January 8th, 2018: Saint-Saëns' Symphony No.3 'Organ' (Maestoso)
December 25th, 2017: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
December 18th, 2017: I Saw Three Ships (The Piano Guys)
December 11th, 2017:Who Is He In Yonder Stall
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

Hot Seat: AFP's Tidwell and Rep. Wright on repealing SQ640

John Tidwell, Oklahoma Director for Americans For Prosperity, recently went on News9's Hot Seat with Scott Mitchell to discuss moves in the Legislature to repeal SQ640 and lower the threshold for raising taxes, and why and what AFP-OK will do to oppose those efforts:

(if the Tidwell interview does not play, you can view it here)

Last week, State Rep. Harold Wright, the author of the measure to reduce taxpayer protections, also appeared on Hot Seat to discuss the topic:

(if the Wright interview does not play, you can view it here)

OCPA's Small: Foolish Hollywood Handouts


Foolish Hollywood handouts
by OCPA President Jonathan Small

Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein may face criminal charges from Los Angles to London. If he does, he can pay part of his legal bills with money from Oklahoma taxpayers.

That’s right. Oklahomans subsidized the making of the 2013 Weinstein-produced and -distributed film August: Osage County to the tune of $4.6 million.

Perhaps fittingly for a film associated with Weinstein, August: Osage County managed to cover most of the family dysfunction bases, from suicide and addiction to incest and child molestation. If it was meant to showcase Oklahoma, where the film was set and made, thus qualifying it for that subsidy from the Oklahoma Film and Music Office, it wasn’t a success.

August: Osage County wasn’t the only movie that earned Oklahoma taxpayer-funded giveaways, but it was one of the few that actually made it to many movie screens. Most qualifying film projects barely made it to video release.

Take Pax Masculina, described as a “steampunk” film depicting the “seduction and murder of policemen and government officials.” It earned a $73,003 taxpayer subsidy before it vanished into obscurity.

“Steampunk” not your style? You should check out Blueberry Hall. According to the Oklahoma Film and Music Office, it’s “a cautionary, Southern Gothic tale” about a college student who enters the world of prescription drugs to get a free ride to Harvard Law School. The film received a $70,560 taxpayer subsidy, but at least it had “an all-Oklahoma crew.”

Since 2010, a period spanning two recessions in Oklahoma, taxpayers have handed over some $20.3 million to film producers and Hollywood folks who graced us with their presence. We also grant them sales tax exemptions for anything their production companies buy in Oklahoma.

Set aside for a moment the wisdom (or lack thereof) of essentially bribing some people to come make movies in Oklahoma and then sail right back to Hollywood. Maybe the incentive has enhanced the film industry in Oklahoma?

Nope. Oklahoma’s own Incentive Evaluation Commission found “no evidence that the Oklahoma film industry has strengthened during the time period when the rebate has been available.” With annual budget holes in the hundreds of millions of dollars, is this really a high priority for state government?

The current rebate allowed each year by state law is $4 million. That might not sound like a lot, but the state could pay for nursing home care for 213 elderly Oklahomans or for mental health services for 1,402 Oklahomans.

While we aren’t talking about a one-stop solution to the state’s budget woes, it’s still real money and another example of why it’s foolish to give more tax dollars to those who can’t seem to refrain from giving away our money to shady Hollywood characters.

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

Coburn: Oklahoma needs fiscal responsibility, not tax increases


In Oklahoma, treat the cause of the problem

As a doctor, I investigated the root cause of problems. Some doctors have fallen into the trap of just treating symptoms — this is the major reason for the overdose epidemic.

In government, the prime way politicians, bureaucrats and some advocates approach government is to throw your hard-earned money at it. The answer to state government's failures isn't more money — it's fiscally responsible governance.

Recurring revenues have been raised more than $700 million the past several years. State reports show the budget gap at less than $200 million. State government operational dysfunction abounds — for example, the scandal of at least $30 million squandered at the state Health Department. Oklahomans are striving to get out of a recession. Working Oklahomans need $800 million in annual tax increases like a hemorrhaging patient needs leeches.

Opportunities are numerous for fiscally responsible governance, so tax increases are unnecessary. Robust Medicaid enrollment audits are saving states billions — Oklahoma can implement this and save more than $80 million in state-share funds annually.

Oklahoma state government cries poverty yet has subsidized, over a period spanning the last two recessions, $20 million for Hollywood and film production, including $4.6 million to producer Harvey Weinstein.

The state piggybacks the federal giveaway of subsidizing wind with state subsidies exceeding $100 million annually.

The state cheats itself by more than $100 million annually in state tribal gaming tax revenue because of its below-market gaming tax rate. Oklahoma pays tribal governments more than $50 million annually to sell cigarettes.

Patronage and mission creep created the fundamental flaws of K-12 and higher education; empowering parents, students and teachers is the solution.

Government employment reform, so good employees are compensated more and underperforming employees are moved on, is necessary.

State pension administration reform can save $15 million annually.

Smarter and healthier spending of the more than $75 million annually controlled by the billion-dollar Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust is long overdue.

A bipartisan, bicameral oversight committee with subpoena power to conduct performance and process improvement audits and reviews of every dollar spent, with full-time and independent staff that works transparently year-round, is a must.

Plans to throw a bomb of tax increases at the problem of lack of structural and transformational reform, while well intended, will fail like previous attempts. More money and appointing better managers to a flawed structure that was built by corrupt, good-ol'-boy politicians, isn't transformational. The $800 million package of tax increases being discussed at the state Capitol includes more than $175 million in sham income tax "reforms" that are just a backhanded way to increase taxes on working Oklahoma families. This must be stopped.

Oklahoma's most vulnerable and Oklahoma taxpayers who don't have an army of lobbyists deserve for politicians to take the true steps to do the tough work of responsible fiscal governance, structural reform and transformational policy solutions that end the failed status quo of government operation — as promised.

Anything less is a step off a cliff into the folly of just throwing more money at government.

Coburn, a former Republican U.S senator, lives in Tulsa.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

3 GOP State Reps went on December NYC Nat'l Popular Vote junket

(In NYC on the IRPE trip. L-R: Rep. Avery Frix, Rep. McDugle's girlfriend, Rep. Baker's husband, Rep. Kevin McDugle, Rep. Rhonda Baker)

In mid-December, some freshmen Republican state representatives took a trip to New York City to attend meetings put on by the Institute for Research on Presidential Elections. The group spent a little over $2,000 on one legislator, and likely spent the same amount or more on two others. The purpose of the junket was to learn about the IRPE's efforts to change how we elect the President from the Electoral College system to a national popular vote.

I first learned about this after reading an article by Brianna Bailey of TheFrontier, entitled Oklahoma lawmakers can accept limitless hotel stays and travel subsidies from special interest groups. Bailey includes a list of these "scholarships" here, dating back to 2015.

Listed first alphabetically on the Frontier's list, State Rep. Avery Frix (R-Muskogee) reported a scholarship of $2,063 to the Oklahoma Ethics Commission for a trip to New York City from December 14th, 2017, to December 17th, 2017. I asked Rep. Frix for more information on the excursion, and discovered that State Rep. Rhonda Baker (R-Yukon) and State Rep. Kevin McDugle (R-Broken Arrow) also went. Baker appears to have attended with her husband, and McDugle brought his girlfriend along (he is currently going through a divorce, and is accused of adultery).

According to the Oklahoma Ethics Commission, legislators must file the reporting forms within 30 days of the trip; as of tonight, neither Baker nor McDugle appear to have done so (Frix did). It is possible that Baker and McDugle paid for the trip out of their campaign accounts, but those reports aren't due until the 31st, and they have not responded to my questions on this topic.

John Koza, "a California Democrat who made his fortune by inventing the scratch-off lottery ticket"started two non-profits about a decade ago to push his goal of discarding the Electoral College -- the Institute for Research on Presidential Elections, and National Popular Vote. IRPE is the group that paid for Baker, Frix, and McDugle to attend their NYC junket.


Back in May, when the State House held rare Saturday proceedings during late-session budget negotiations, three Democrats were absent, attending a seminar in California. State Reps. Eric Proctor (D-Tulsa), Shane Stone (D-OKC), and Cory Williams (D-Stillwater) were at a conference being put on by none other than the Institute for Research on Presidential Elections. The Democrats did not receive any scholarships/grant/subsidy for their trip; Proctor's campaign spent $1,614.61 for his expenses, Stone's campaign spent $1,037.53, and Williams' campaign spent $466.96.

Politico did a recent profile on Koza and his campaign; here are some relevant snippets:
"[T]he most viable campaign to change how Americans choose their leader is being waged at booze-soaked junkets in luxury hotels around the country and even abroad, as an obscure entity called the Institute for Research on Presidential Elections peddles a controversial idea: that state legislatures can put the popular-vote winner in the White House."
Earlier this year, Koza's IRPE took journalists on "all-expenses-paid, three-day trip at a four-star resort" in Panama to introduce them to his project:
"The only way to ensure a nuanced, in-depth discussion of a national popular vote is to lock people in a conference room for hours—and the only way to do that is to lure them to a swanky location promising an otherwise leisurely weekend of free food, drink and entertainment. The seminars initially targeted state lawmakers—whose votes back home will shape the Compact’s fate—but beginning last fall they have also been organized for journalists and opinion leaders in an attempt to gain broader recognition."
Koza has been the primary funding source for the National Popular Vote push, putting over $14M into it so far and pledging at least $2M per year for future efforts.

Leading into 2016, Koza and his compatriots felt like they were on the verge of finally getting a Republican-led state to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC): "If the 2016 election had been normal, we believe we would have gotten enactments in red states in 2017,” Koza says. “We’ve been in a holding pattern, waiting to see if things cool down. … We’re currently in the process of figuring out what to do in 2018."

Currently, 10 blue states (CA, HI, IL, MD, MA, NJ, NY, RI, VT, WA, as well as DC) have signed on to the NPVIC, representing 165 electoral votes.

Here's another key quote from the Politico article: The plan, according to [former MI GOP chairman and NPV activist] Saul Anuzis, is to kick off the year by targeting not just any Republican states but Utah and Oklahoma—two of the most conservative in the union—in pursuit of a symbolic breakthrough. They boast only a combined 13 electoral votes, but Koza and his team believe passage there could open the floodgates. “A lot of Republicans don’t want their state to jump first,” Anuzis says. “But if we get those two, we’ll get four or five more.”

Three Democrat state representatives attended an IRPE conference in California in May. Three Republican state representatives attended an IRPE conference in New York City in December. It does appear that Oklahoma is getting special attention paid by the NPVIC proponents.

I reached out to several other Republican legislators to see how widespread the IRPE invitation was. None of the members I heard back from had been invited, leading me to believe that specific legislators were being targeted, specifically freshmen, or else singled out for exclusion.

I asked Reps. Frix, Baker, and McDugle whether they were supportive of the electoral college reforms being put forward by the Institute for Research on Presidential Elections. Reps. Baker and McDugle have not responded to any of my questions as of this point. Rep. Frix said, "Currently, I support the system as is. I appreciate the opportunity to learn about the history of the electoral college and the treatment swing states receive vs. non-swing States. As well as analyze where the contributions come from and where they are spent in Presidential elections. I'm still learning more."

According to Frix, "All [of the speakers] were conservatives." NPV and IRPE have routinely used Republican figures such as former Michigan GOP Chair Saul Anuzis to recruit GOP support, once even touting an endorsement by Newt Gingrich. The NPV 'about' page has a mix of people who support the plan, ranging from Democrat mega-donors, consultants and a former Bernie Sanders staffer, to Anuzis and a former Republican State Senator from California.

This is not the first time that Oklahoma has been targeted by the National Popular Vote advocates. In 2014, a version authored by [now former] State Sen. Rob Johnson passed the Senate 28-18. After grassroots outrage to the vote, Republican Senators Allen, Brecheen, and Stanislawski publicly admitted their error in lending support to the measure. Johnson and former State Rep. Don Armes (R-Faxon) authored NPV bills during their tenure, and have lobbied for the idea since leaving the legislature.

Following the 2014 Senate vote, the OKGOP Chairman (Dave Weston, at the time) issued a scathing editorial on the National Popular Vote Compact, as did former OKGOP chairman Matt Pinnell (who was working at the RNC at the time). The measure did not advance in the House.

Under the NPVIC, Oklahoma's electoral votes would have been cast for Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996, Al Gore in 2000, Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, and Hillary Clinton in 2016, despite Oklahomans actually voting for the GOP candidate (overwhelmingly in most cases).

Conservative activists will need to keep a watchful eye on the Legislature to make sure that no effort is made to tie our presidential voting to the national popular vote, and that this scandalous and subversive effort is not successful in Oklahoma.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Muskogee GOP makes statement against weakening SQ640 protections

Last Friday, the Muskogee County Republican Party's County Committee passed the following resolution in response to calls to reduce taxpayer protections put in the Oklahoma Constitution by SQ640:


We, the members of the Muskogee County Republican Party’s County Committee, strongly oppose any proposed weakening of the Oklahoma Constitution’s taxpayer protections found in Article V, Section 33. Revenue increases through raising taxes, removing exemptions, or increasing fees, ought to be approved by the majority of voters in a general election, or by a 75% vote of each of the two chambers of the Oklahoma Legislature. Our state constitution works best when the legislature partners with the voters in this manner.

Rather than seeking to loosen the taxpayer protections implemented by SQ640, we demand that the legislature trust the voters to make wise revenue decisions in the event that the legislature or governor believe they have compelling reasons to increase taxes and are unable to achieve the required 75% threshold in legislative voting.

We will only support candidates who respect the voters’ proper place in deciding revenue increase proposals and who will seek to uphold or strengthen the taxpayer protections found in Article V, Section 33 of the Oklahoma Constitution, not weaken them by lowering the standards entailed therein. We believe that the constitutional language intended for the voters to generally be a part of that process.

We direct the County chairman to distribute copies of this resolution on the MCRP’s social media, email list, and also to the Republican legislators representing portions of Muskogee County, the Oklahoma Republican Party chairman, the Oklahoma House Speaker, the Oklahoma Senate President, and the Governor of Oklahoma.

Mulready raises $200k in 4th Quarter, $500k to date


Mulready Reports Successful Fundraising Period
More than $200,000 raised in quarter; Tops $500,000 for campaign

TULSA, OK – Glen Mulready’s campaign for Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner released fundraising totals today showing the Republican candidate well-positioned for this year’s contest.  By raising $203,225.80 during the fourth quarter of 2017, the campaign has $505,264.40 in its coffers to date and approximately $400,000.00 on hand for future campaign expenses.

“I am continually encouraged by the support received from those who know the insurance industry and those who support a free-market approach to insurance.  Oklahomans know we need a regulatory system that promotes more choices for insurance consumers.” Mulready stated.

Endorsed by term-limited Insurance Commissioner John Doak, as well as the Chairmen of both the State House and Senate Insurance Committees, Mulready has spent much of his time visiting with voters across the state.

“While we have been successful, we take nothing for granted,” Mulready stated.  “I’m a candidate who tells it like it is.  I’ll be in your town, and when you see me, I’ll ask for your vote and probably for a campaign contribution,” Mulready joked.

“Our contributions have come from all parts of the state,” stated Robert Aery, Mulready’s campaign manager.  “Glen is continuing to listen to voters, insurance agents, and those who care about access to affordable insurance. We’ll continue these visits as we start the sprint toward Election Day.”

Dahm hires Matt Moore as campaign manager


Nathan Dahm Names Matt Moore Campaign Manager

"Matt has a proven resume in our community and is the right man to lead our energetic and motivated team."

Nathan Dahm, Republican candidate for Congress in Oklahoma's 1st district, today announced that Matt Moore has joined his campaign as Campaign Manager.

"Today, I'm excited to announce that Matt Moore has joined our team as Campaign Manager," said Dahm. "Matt has a proven resume in our community and is the right man to lead our energetic and motivated team."

Moore is the Owner of Heartland Direct International, a company that provides services to several of the nation’s largest non-profits, including The Wounded Warrior Project, The American Legion, and Shriners Hospitals for Children.

"I am thrilled to join Nathan's campaign for Congress and ready to hit the ground running," said Moore. "Nathan is the only tested conservative in this race who will hold the line and defend the rights of every Oklahoman."

Matt was a 2016 winner of Oklahoma’s 30 under 30 and is a highly sought-after speaker, specializingon topics relating to young entrepreneurs and influencing culture. He serves as President of the Young Businessmen of Tulsa, a non-profit dedicated to connecting, inspiring, and developing young business leaders to find and pursue their purpose.

A resident of Broken Arrow, Nathan Dahm currently serves as a State Senator in the Oklahoma legislature. To learn more about Nathan, visit www.NathanDahm.com

Jolly endorses Hern for Congress


PRESIDENT TRUMP'S FORMER NATIONAL FIELD DIRECTOR ENDORSES KEVIN HERN

Tulsa, OK – President Trump's former National Field Director, Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Jolly (Ret.) 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.

“As a veteran, small business advocate and policy activist, I am proud to support Kevin Hern for his bid to go to Congress. Washington needs experienced swamp drainers so we can get a real budget passed, rebuild our military and cut government waste. Kevin's strong business background and determined work ethic are qualities we need more of in Congress. We need more businessmen who have actually dealt with the strangling effects of big government to help us drain this swamp. We need to reinforce the Trump economic revolution by electing members of Congress that understand how small businesses actually work. Kevin Hern is the right man for the job.”

Stuart Jolly served as the National Field Director for Donald J. Trump for President for the first 7 months of the campaign responsible for national political strategy and hiring in all Primary & Caucus states. He personally ran NH, SC, and NC and won 22 state primaries and caucuses.

Jolly is also a retired Lieutenant Colonel from the US Army. LTC Jolly is a Veteran of the Gulf War where he earned a Bronze Star and two Air Medals for his service in Iraq. He was the Oklahoma State Director for Americans for Prosperity (AFP) for over 6 years where it grew from just under 1,200 members to over 26,000 in 2012. AFP focuses on free‐market issues across the state and country and is the premier grassroots organization in the United States.

“I am honored to have received Stuart's endorsement in my race for Congress,” said Hern. “Stuart has been a strong advocate for conservative free-market principles. He understands that DC needs more small business owners in Congress who are willing to push back on burdensome regulations and policies that stifle our economy and prevent job creation.”

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.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Richardson blasts tax hikes in "Step Up Oklahoma" plan


GARY RICHARDSON BLASTS TAX HIKES IN "STEP UP OKLAHOMA" PLAN

    Conservative GOP Candidate for Governor, Gary Richardson, is blasting the Chamber of Commerce scheme to fix Oklahoma's budget problems with its "Step Up Oklahoma" plan.

    “A much more appropriate title for this absurd plan would be 'Pay Up Oklahoma'," Gary Richardson says.  "I don't see how lawmakers can morally justify raising taxes when it is glaringly obvious they are mismanaging the money we already gave them.  I'm shocked to see people calling themselves Republicans while advocating for the largest tax increase in the history of Oklahoma.  True conservatives need to rally together, reject the tax hikes that fund corporate welfare, and elect a Republican Governor who is truly dedicated to the principles of the party."

    Richardson believes blindly throwing more tax money toward state agencies will do nothing to solve the systemic problems that led to Oklahoma's current budget crisis.

    "While everyone should be outraged by the corruption at the State Capitol, no one should be terribly surprised by it," says Richardson.  "State agencies are spending our tax money with virtually no oversight or accountability so today's crisis was just a matter of time.  We can't change the past but we can certainly change the future.  We must demand forensic audits of every state agency, expose the waste, and end the corruption. That is the only lasting solution that will allow us to fund the pay raises our teachers and public employees deserve.  Tax hikes will not solve our problems, they will only mask the problems until the next crisis arises."

    Richardson has also released an ad running on both social media and radio (link provided below) exposing the flaws of the Step Up plan.

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

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Trent England Show Now Live on Facebook and YouTube


The Trent England Show Now Live on Facebook and YouTube
Show airs weekdays at 9 a.m. on Facebook and YouTube

OKLAHOMA CITY—The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) announced today that The Trent England Show can now be viewed live on Facebook and YouTube.

The show airs weekdays from 9-9:30 a.m. on OCPA’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Additionally, anyone can replay the show at any time by subscribing to the iTunes podcast.

The Trent England Show takes viewers deeper into the news and public policy discussions of the day and provides viewers with the latest news from the Oklahoma Capitol and around the country. Plus, the show features exclusive interviews with renowned Oklahoma and national conservative guests.

About Trent England
Trent England serves as Executive Vice President at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, where he also is the David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow for the Advancement of Liberty and directs the Center for the Constitution & Freedom and the Save Our States project. He is an adjunct fellow of the Freedom Foundation.

Trent previously served as Executive Vice President of the Olympia, Washington-based Freedom Foundation and had also directed the Foundation's constitutional studies programs and Citizen Action Network. He was a candidate for the Washington State House of Representatives in 2006 and earlier served as a legal policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation.

Trent is a contributor to two books—“The Heritage Guide to the Constitution” and “One Nation Under Arrest: How Crazy Laws, Rogue Prosecutors, and Activist Judges Threaten Your Liberty.” His writing has also appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Washington Times, and other newspapers.

Trent earned a law degree from The George Mason University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in government from Claremont McKenna College. He lives in Oklahoma City with his wife and their three children.

About the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) is a public policy research organization focused primarily on state-level issues. OCPA conducts research and analysis of public issues in Oklahoma from a perspective of limited government, individual liberty, and a free-market economy.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Music Monday: Waltz in A-Flat Major

This week's Music Monday is Waltz in A-Flat Major, Op. 39 No. 15, written by 19th-century German composer Johannes Brahms.



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.


January 15th, 2018: Bleed The Same
January 8th, 2018: Saint-Saëns' Symphony No.3 'Organ' (Maestoso)
December 25th, 2017: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
December 18th, 2017: I Saw Three Ships (The Piano Guys)
December 11th, 2017:Who Is He In Yonder Stall
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

Jolly endorses Costello for Labor Commissioner


TRUMP CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR, STUART JOLLY, ENDORSES CATHY COSTELLO FOR LABOR COMMISSIONER

    Longtime Oklahoman and Trump Campaign Field Director, Lt. Col. Stuart Jolly (ret.), announces his endorsement of Cathy Costello in her campaign for Oklahoma State Labor Commissioner in 2018.

    "Cathy Costello is the clear choice in the race for Oklahoma Labor Commissioner," Stuart Jolly says. “Cathy has the business expertise, the conservative leadership skills and the drive to make much-needed changes to Oklahoma's workforce.  Her platform is a perfect blueprint to streamline our economy for the next decade and beyond.  Mark would be proud of her for making this stand and helping Oklahomans.  I am proud to endorse Cathy Costello for Oklahoma's Labor Commissioner.”

    Jolly worked closely with Cathy’s late husband, Labor Commissioner Mark Costello, on several labor-related issues. He says he sees the same leadership qualities in Cathy as she has advocated for mental health reform.

    “I am honored and humbled to know one of Oklahoma’s strongest political leaders, Stuart Jolly, is supporting my campaign,” Cathy Costello says.  “The outpouring of support from conservative leaders in the Republican Party has been overwhelming. I promise each and every voter I will lead the Labor Department with passion, purpose and principles to help every worker in Oklahoma.”

    Cathy Costello is a co-founder of several international businesses and is a sought-after national speaker and advocate on issues of mental health.  She was also instrumental in passing landmark federal and state legislation to address how we can address mental health needs in our communities, health care approaches and the workplace.

       The Republican primary for Labor Commissioner is scheduled for June 26, 2018 and the general election will be held November 6, 2018.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Fallin amends 2nd Special Session call to include tax hikes


Governor Mary Fallin Amends Second Special Session Call

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today amended the call of the second special session of the 56th Legislature, which has been in recess since Dec. 22.

The governor did not set a date when lawmakers would return to address the shortfall in the current fiscal year budget.

“Discussions are continuing about a revenue and reform plan, which seems to be growing in momentum,” said Fallin. “We’re excited that we have an opportunity to build some grass-roots support among our fellow Oklahomans to solve our budget crisis, to be able to put Oklahoma on a stable path forward, and to provide teachers a much-needed pay raise.”

The governor’s amended call asks lawmakers to consider providing a long-term revenue solution to the state’s budget shortfalls by:

  • Increasing the tax on cigarettes, and little cigars by $1.50 per pack, and an additional 10 percent on chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes;
  • Increasing the oil and gas gross production tax by increasing the rate on wells currently at 2 percent to 4 percent, and all future wells will begin at 4 percent for 36 months and move to 7 percent thereafter;
  • Implementing a renewable generation tax at $1.00 per MWH;
  • Increasing the rate on diesel and gasoline by 6 cents per gallon;
  • Imposing a dollar cap on transferability/cash refundability for coal, wind and railroad tax credits effective the 2018 tax year;
  • Expanding the definition of covered games in the model tribal gaming compact to include “non-house-banked table games;” and;
  • Reforming rates, exemptions, deductions and credits on the individual income tax code.

Other items in the governor's call are:

  • Creating an accountability office designed to expose waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayers’ dollars in state government;
  • Modifying the structure of state government and increasing accountability by replacing the appointing power of specified boards and commissions with granting the governor direct appointing authority over these specified agency directors.  This can be accomplished by statutory change or by referring a constitutional change to a vote of the people when necessary, and;
  • Addressing a needed $5,000 pay increase for certified education staff, excluding any superintendents.

 The items in the governor’s call mirror many of the items recommended by Step Up Oklahoma, a group of Oklahoma business and community leaders.

“I appreciate the efforts of these business and community leaders working together to build statewide, nonpartisan support to help the Legislature address teacher pay raises and fix our budget crisis,” Fallin said. “It is critical to our state's future to fix the budget's structural problems and put our state on a predictable, stable foundation for success. I’m optimistic, with the effort and determination shown by Step Up Oklahoma, that lawmakers can pass a realistic solution to the state’s current budget problem.”