Saturday, September 30, 2017

Amid NFL protests, Fort Gibson football team takes the field in a different way

In the midst of the ongoing controversy over the National Anthem at football games, with college and even high-school players now joining the new "fad" of protesting, the Fort Gibson (OK) High football team took a different approach at their home game against Poteau last night:

Thanks to Payton Fore Photography for the photo.


Eddie Huff on National Anthem protests: what did Hitler think?

Former KFAQ host Eddie Huff posted these thoughts on the NFL national anthem protests, and I just had to share it:
"For all of those who think the anthem is a symbol of white superiority and oppression, and think President DJT is a racist beneficiary of "White Privilege," I ask one question.

What do you think Adolf Hitler though of when he heard the American National Anthem? Two words:


The 1936 Olympics in Berlin were to showcase Aryan superiority but Jesse Owens, a BLACK, AMERICAN, athlete, Pee'd all over that in winning a record 4 Gold Medals.

Imagine Hitler's demeanor each time Jesse stood on that podium above Hitler's specimens of white superiority. I will bet that Hitler had the Star Spangled Banner banned.

It was not the flag and anthem of Germany, France, Russia, Arab or even African nation that was played. It was the Anthem of the United States of America. Jesse returned HOME to receive a "Ticker Tape Parade" celebrated as national hero.

So the next time a person tells you that the Flag and Anthem are racist symbols, ask them what Hitler thought about that."

Friday, September 29, 2017

Conservative leaders urge Oklahoma politicians to protect taxpayers

September 28, 2017

Dear Governor and State Lawmakers,

We are a coalition of conservative citizens, many of us serving in leadership of state or local organizations, who write to urge you to address the need for more consolidation and other efficiencies in all areas of state government and to resist raising taxes on your constituents.

Many Oklahoma families and businesses are struggling and have been forced to reduce their own spending. Indeed, Oklahomans lost more than $13 billion in taxable income and reduced purchases by $4.1 billion in one year alone when oil prices collapsed.

And yet, Oklahoma’s total state government spending is at an all-time high. The state is now on track to spend more money next year—more than $17.9 billion—than at any time in our history. If you believe that certain state services are not adequately funded, we urge you to prioritize spending rather than raise taxes.

“Limited government” and “lower taxes” have been winning campaign messages in Oklahoma over the last decade. Some candidates have even made written promises to oppose and vote against (or veto) “any and all efforts to increase taxes.” We encourage you to stay true to these principles and to oppose efforts to increase the burden of government on hard-working Oklahoma families.


Jonathan Small
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA)

John Tidwell
Americans for Prosperity-Oklahoma

Grover Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform

Steve Curry
Republican National Committeeman for Oklahoma

Ronda Vuillemont-Smith
Tulsa 9.12 Project

Tom Newell
Former chairman, General Government Oversight and Accountability Committee, Oklahoma House of Representatives

Michael Bates

Brandon Arnold
National Taxpayers Union

Jamison Faught

Andrew Lopez
Canadian County Republican Party

Daniel Schneider
American Conservative Union

Charles W. Potts
Oklahoma Republican Party executive committee member

John Michener
Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee

Bunny Chambers
Eagle Forum of Oklahoma

Lisa B. Nelson
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

Ashley N. Varner
ALEC Action
Other signers will be added to the letter as the special legislative session continues.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Drunk on cash? TSET promotes nightclubs, bars, drag shows

OCPA’s Center for Investigative Journalism revealed some shocking news this week about the spending habits of Oklahoma’s Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET). TSET is a state agency created to fund programs that help people quit smoking and help pay for the costs of smoking-related health care.

TSET was formed as a result of the state's lawsuit against tobacco companies in the 1990s, and currently sits on an endowment worth over $1 billion. It brings in and spends about $50 million every year on tobacco cessation campaigns or health issues related to tobacco use. Or rather, that's what TSET is supposed to use the money for.

These days, you often find TSET promoting drinking water instead of surgery drinks, exercising, eating fruits and vegetables... which, while good things to encourage, are not what TSET was set up to spend money on. Oh, and TSET apparently now pushes nightclubs, bars, and drag shows for teenagers -- at non-smoking locales, of course.

Because alcohol is so much better than tobacco for Oklahomans' health and safety.

From the OCPA-CIJ article (they warn that the many links in their article showing what TSET is pushing "will lead to content that some will consider offensive"):
Smoking and second-hand smoke are health risks. So are many other behaviors. But one Oklahoma state agency is so focused on opposition to smoking that it promotes bars and night clubs as long as the venues promise to be smoke free.

One promoted Oklahoma City night club specifically advertises to teenagers “15 and up” and hosts regular “drag shows.” Other boosted bars and clubs feature similarly racy fare, putting Oklahoma in the odd place of promoting alcohol and risky behaviors just because they are not accompanied by smoking.


One TSET project that is about smoking is Free The Night, which offers "promotional opportunities to smokefree bars and clubs.” TSET created the program in 2013 and spent $653,150 on it in fiscal years 2015 and 2016.

On its website and various social media pages, Free The Night promotes 35 “partners” that are “smokefree bars and clubs.” Many are traditional bars, sports bars, or dance clubs, but some of these TSET-promoted businesses offer racier fare.

One Tulsa club specializes in scantily-clad women performing burlesque shows, another recently featured male strippers, and a third is advertising “torture acts” and a “spanking booth” as part of an upcoming event. A fourth Tulsa venue specializes in programs featuring men dressed as women and hosts watch parties for “Ru Paul’s Drag Race.”

Perhaps most startling is the Oklahoma City club that TSET’s Free The Night website calls “a safe, supervised, and smokefree place to hang out” and “an exciting, different place for youth to spend their weekends.” The Free The Night site links to the club’s Facebook page, which shows that most of the programs involve men dressed, but often barely dressed, as women. With TSET’s help, the club targets teenagers, inviting people as young as 15 to attend programs like “drag 101” and making show times earlier “so our younger crowd can actually stay and see the show.” There is no upper age limit at the club.

According to a presentation last year by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, “excessive alcohol use cost $3.08 billion [in Oklahoma] in 2010 as a result of lost workplace productivity, healthcare expenses, and crime.” Part of the Department’s mission is to provide services to the 251,000 Oklahomans who are dependent on or otherwise abusing alcohol. But while one state agency tries to combat alcohol abuse, another—TSET—actually spends state money to promote bars and nightclubs.

Read the full article, along with the aforementioned and warned links, here

From another OCPA article on the shocking program:
Beyond the hypocrisy of spending state dollars to promote shots, cocktails, and vodka infusions, consider what else those funds could buy. The state share of nursing home costs is $51.45 per day. That means TSET’s Free The Night spending could have covered the state’s share of 12,694 days of nursing home care.

TSET appears to be yet another example of a runaway government agency in need of oversight.

Travis Templin announces for SD27 special election

Former Teacher of the Year & Small Businessman Announces for State Senate District 27

Seiling, Oklahoma – Travis Templin has announced his candidacy for State Senate District 27. A special election will be held on December 12th, 2017 to fill the open seat. Templin, a teacher and coach at Seiling Public Schools, believes it is time for a State Senator to step up and start doing what’s right. Northwestern Oklahoma has always been Templin’s home. He was born in Alva, attended Woodward and Gage Public Schools, graduated from Boise City High School, and then Northwestern Oklahoma State University in 1998 where he received his Bachelor of Science in Education.

“Growing up in Northwestern Oklahoma taught me the values of hard work, family, & a strong
community. We have got to have a strong voice to represent our district – not the out of state special
interest groups trying to control our government. We also don’t need to elect another career politician,” said Travis Templin. Templin was awarded “Teacher of the Year” in 2016 and his wife, Amanda, also a school teacher, received the award in 2017.

“I’ve known Travis and his family for a long time. You never really know what will go across a legislator’s desk, but you can get to know their heart and what motivates them – Travis Templin is a man of integrity, honor, and character and I know we can count on him to do the right thing,” said Kirk Pittman, a member of Travis Templin’s Advisory Council.

Travis and Amanda, have two children – Kylie and Kaden and one grandson, Karter. While Templin has spent most of his life in public education, he also has experience in agriculture and oil & gas, with oversight of large budgets. “There is no reason for our state to be creating new taxes. We are taxed too much already. The private sector creates jobs, opportunities, and the best path for success – not the government,” says Templin, “It is time we start prioritizing our resources and best appropriating the funds our state is given by its taxpayers.”

Templin is a Conservative Republican who believes in cutting wasteful spending and stopping
corruption. He believes in balancing a better budget for years ahead so businesses can thrive and the
economy can grow. “Agencies need audited and held accountable for the funds they receive. Wasteful
spending should stop. We must reform education and invest in infrastructure. We must also take care of rural healthcare and emergency management services,” stated Travis Templin.

For more information, please visit

So far, the other announced candidates are State Rep. Casey Murdock and OKGOP National Committeewoman Carolyn McLarty.

Coleman endorsed by Combat Veterans for Congress in 1st District race

Leading Veterans Group Endorses Andy Coleman in GOP Primary

Owasso, OK – A nationally recognized veteran organization, Combat Veterans for Congress, has announced its endorsement for Captain Andy Coleman in the Republican primary for Oklahoma’s First Congressional District. Combat Veterans for Congress supports the election of veterans who are also fiscal and constitutional conservatives.

After graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Captain Coleman served his country as a military intelligence officer, focusing on developments spanning North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and Eurasia. During the “surge” of 2007–2008 in Iraq, Captain Coleman deployed as a senior intelligence officer with an Army brigade in Baghdad. That role required him to focus on local Islamic militant groups, and he also trained U.S. military personnel in counterinsurgency and counter-sniper tactics.

“This really means a lot to me,” Coleman shared after learning of the endorsement. “Serving in the military was a tremendous honor, and the experience shaped me in so many ways. It molded me as a leader, taught me how to work effectively as part of a team, and gave me unique insights on the national security and foreign policy fronts. It would be a privilege to use my background to help our country navigate the many threats she faces today. And of course, it would be a privilege to be a champion for veterans in Oklahoma, and across America.”

Captain Coleman is the only military veteran with service experience in this race. After his military service, Captain Coleman entered private legal practice and later full-time ministry, serving the Persecuted Church in some of the world’s most dangerous countries.

“We need more members of Congress with military service experience who are equipped and ready to lead our nation as we encounter difficult decisions regarding North Korea, Iran and problems at home with the VA. I’m a battle-tested conservative who is ready to stand in the gap in defense of our freedoms as your next Member of Congress," stated Captain Andy Coleman.

Combat Veterans for Congress has previously endorsed Congressmen Jim Bridenstine (R OK-CD 1). Several other endorsements for Captain Andy Coleman include Dr. Everett Piper, Morton Blackwell, Denny Garrison, and Pam Peterson.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Richardson blames Fallin, Lamb for Special Session impasse

Richardson Calls Breakdown at Special Session "Lack of Conservative Leadership"

Tulsa, OK, September 26, 2017 – Gary Richardson called on the Governor, the Speaker of the House, and the President of the Senate to come together to bring a conservative solution to the special session in the midst of the House going into recess over the failure of a clear plan.

"What happened today is the result of frustration from a lack of conservative leadership from Governor Fallin and Lt. Governor Todd Lamb, " said Richardson.  "We have the Governor threatening to veto anything that isn't a tax increase, and a Lt. Governor who sits on the sideline while the Senate he can take over anytime as President of the Senate proposed a $1.50 cigarette tax increase and a 6-cent increase on the gasoline tax."

Richardson then explained how the Oklahoma Lt. Governor is the one constitutionally in charge of the State Senate.  "According to Article 5, Section 28 of the State Constitution, the Lt. Governor is the one who presides over the State Senate," said Richardson.  "Lamb could fulfill his constitutional powers as President of the Senate and block any tax increases.  Yet the silence of Lamb is deafening."

"Luckily, a core group of conservative Republicans who understand that we have a spending problem and not a revenue problem are standing strong against any tax increase, which led to the recess of the State House today," said Richardson.   "It's time we have a Governor and Lt. Governor who will join these conservatives and lead on the Republican principles they campaigned on."

Gary Richardson is a Republican candidate for Governor of Oklahoma.  He is a former U.S. Attorney appointed by President Ronald Reagan and a founding member of the law firm, Richardson, Richardson, and Boudreaux.  Gary and his wife, Lanna, reside in Tulsa. Together, they have five children and eleven grandchildren. They are active members of South Tulsa Baptist Church.  Learn more at

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

UPDATE: GOP Gubernatorial Candidates on the Special Session

I reached out to the GOP gubernatorial candidates for their take on the special session (which began yesterday). Here are the answers of the candidates who replied to my inquiry, listed in order of response - Gary Jones, Todd Lamb, and Gary Richardson (UPDATE: Dan Fisher has now responded):

1. What do you hope to see legislators do during the special session? 

Gary Jones: I believe the legislature should address the issue of declining general revenues. Do a reset on the gross production tax and set the rate at 5% for the first three years. Pass the tobacco tax and dedicate the funding to health-related issues. Consider raising the gasoline tax by 3 cents to 20 cents and diesel by 6 cents to 20 cents. This will generate around $500 million annually. Keep in mind the budget hole is $900 million annually.

Todd Lamb: Act swiftly to address the FY18 budget issue while exploring ways to decrease government inefficiencies and wasteful spending of tax dollars.

Gary Richardson: The legislators need to do what every Oklahoma family does when times are tough at home. They need to go over what they spend and find out what we can cut back on. I am confident that we have enough money in wasteful spending to fill the budget gap without raising taxes. We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

Dan Fisher: Adjourn before they can tax again.

Mick Cornett: NO RESPONSE

Kevin Stitt: NO RESPONSE

2. Gov. Fallin now says she will veto any measure that contains cuts to state agencies, instead focusing solely on "revenue raising". Do you agree or disagree with her stance? 

Gary Jones: I don’t believe we should do across the board cuts, but can do targeted cuts once an audit has been performed on those agencies. We do not need to do forensic audits or all agencies. but need to do performance audits based on an overall risk assessment being done of the state as a whole to determine what areas offer the greatest opportunities for the elimination of waste and savings based on greater efficiency.

Todd Lamb: I do not support the governor’s stance and feel strongly the legislature should always seek opportunities to prioritize the spending of tax dollars on core services while examining avenues to cut waste and downsize state government.

Gary Richardson: I think our governor needs to remind herself what it means to follow Republican values. She campaigned on lower taxes and less spending, it’s time we legislate that way.

Dan Fisher: Disagree, to drain more money from an already overtaxed population is unconscionable. To do so with no effort to reduce spending is incompetent bordering on criminal.

Mick Cornett: NO RESPONSE

Kevin Stitt: NO RESPONSE

3. Do you have any suggestions or solutions you'd like to see the legislature consider during the special session?

Gary Jones: The revenue measures can be done this year. I also think they should consider a targeted teacher’s pay increase this special session as well.

Todd Lamb: Commit to truly address Oklahoma’s numerous tax exemptions, as I have continually advocated.

Gary Richardson: I put forth a plan back in April that shows how we could fund the $878 million budget hole without raising taxes while giving teachers a $3,000 a year raise. We do it by getting rid of services we don’t need (state agency swag is a perfect example) and deferring a portion of the $500 million to $2 billion of corporate tax credits for 2 years while we audit every state agency, trust, and authority and sell off state assets that we don’t need like the GRDA, which alone could net the state upwards of $1 billion.

Dan Fisher: I would like to see the legislature reduce spending by $200 million then muster the fortitude within their leadership to override the threatened veto from this lame duck governor.

Mick Cornett: NO RESPONSE

Kevin Stitt: NO RESPONSE

Lamb Campaign Surpasses 1,000 Donors

Lamb Campaign Surpasses 1,000 Donors
Oklahomans Embrace Lamb’s Proven Conservative Record

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, September 26, 2017 – Oklahomans for Lamb announced today more
than 1,000 individuals have donated to the gubernatorial campaign of Todd Lamb, demonstrating
both the breadth and depth of his support. Having in excess of 1,000 individual donors more than
a year before the general election is believed to be a record for a first-time candidate for
governor, and follows on the heels of Lamb’s record setting second quarter fundraising effort in
which he raised over $1.08 million, the most ever in any reporting period by a Republican
gubernatorial candidate.

Lamb said, “I am extremely humbled by the generosity of Oklahomans across the state
supporting our campaign, and I thank each and every one of them. I travel throughout Oklahoma
every week visiting with citizens from all walks of life regarding my plan to ‘Renew Oklahoma’,
and my message is resonating with voters. It is vital that elected officials spend time with the
people, and not just in government buildings. Oklahomans are conservative and they demand
their tax dollars be spent wisely. I am fortunate that more and more Oklahoma conservatives are
willing to invest in a campaign which mirrors their values. I will continue my grassroots
approach by visiting as many counties, cities and towns across the state as I can, as I believe
Oklahomans deserve to see and hear from candidates on their turf.”

Oklahomans interested in learning more about Todd Lamb’s campaign can visit, call the campaign at 405.252.4289 or email

Monday, September 25, 2017

Schulz releases Senate GOP budget plan for special session

Pro Tem releases Senate GOP budget plan

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz on Monday released the Senate Republicans' plan to address the $215 million hole in the Fiscal Year 2018 state budget.

“This plan not only addresses the immediate need of $215 million for critical health care agencies that was struck down in court, but it also provides recurring  revenue streams to help us address the long-term stability of the budget and prevent further cuts to core government services,” said Schulz, R-Altus.

“Oklahoma Senate Republicans have proven our willingness to address the state's long-term budget problems by passing a similar revenue package during the regular session. The elements of this plan for special session were fully vetted by the Senate during the regular session, and all received the necessary votes to pass constitutional muster. I’m confident Senate Republicans, if given the chance, again will put Oklahoma’s interests first and will be able to pass this responsible revenue plan that ensures education, public safety, transportation and other core services avoid further cuts.”

The Senate plan is as follows:

  • $1.50 per-pack increase in the cigarette tax, which generates $128.9 million in Fiscal Year 2018 and leaves $122.4 million for FY’18 appropriation;
  • a six-cent increase in the motor fuels tax, which generates $71 million in FY’18 and leaves $67.45 million for FY’18 appropriation; and
  • the elimination of the wind manufacturer sales tax exemption, which generates $10.97 million in FY’18 and leaves $9.87 million for FY’18 appropriation.

Because FY’18 collections are for less than a full fiscal year, the Senate plan also calls for a drawdown of $15.2 million from the Rainy Day Fund to entirely plug the hole in the FY’18 budget.

The governor’s call for special session included other issues like a teacher pay raise and finding more efficiency in government spending. Schulz said while the immediate need is addressing the FY’18 budget hole, Senate Republicans were open to considering those issues during the special session.

“Senate Republicans have said all along we must first address the short-term budget issues before acting on a teacher pay raise plan. Once we take care of the budget, Senate Republicans would consider a teacher pay plan that includes a permanent funding source,” Schulz said. “Additionally, Senate Republicans will keep working on making government more efficient and effective. We’ll keep pouring over agency spending and look at options like consolidation to improve the quality and delivery of services. There’s no doubt agencies can be more efficient in spending taxpayer dollars, and Senate Republicans will keep working on behalf of Oklahomans to make sure that happens.”

Music Monday: Beethoven's Sonata No. 8 in C minor ('Pathétique')

This week's Music Monday is Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13 (Pathétique) by composer Ludwig van Beethoven.


Click to go below the page break to see all previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to suggest for a future Music Monday? Email me at

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Richardson drops $1M into gubernatorial campaign

Richardson Puts $1 Million of Personal Funds into Governor Race

Tulsa, OK, September 24, 2017 – Gary Richardson announced on Friday that he has put a total of $1 million into his campaign fund for Governor of Oklahoma.

"We're in it to win it," said Richardson.  "that's why my wife, Lanna, and I made the decision to put $1 million of our own money into this race."

Richardson continued, "I refuse to be beholden to the special interest groups that have poured millions into the Governor's race.  The people of Oklahoma are my only special interest group."

"That's why I'm asking the citizens of Oklahoma to help support my campaign," said Richardson.  With donations of $50, $25, or even $10 from Oklahomans across the state added to the $1 million Lanna and I have put in this race, we can send a message that the Governor's race can't be bought off by the special interest groups."

"Too often, we get politicians who are looking to further their career and only see the office of Governor as the next notch on their belt," said Richardson.  "I can honestly say that I don't need the job, I'm not looking for a career in politics, and I can't be bought by the lobbyists and special interest groups."

"I will only be sold out to the people of Oklahoma, fighting to eliminate waste, foolish spending, and corruption and getting our state out of the mess we're in," said Richardson.  "If we're not ready to hire that kind of leader now, when?"

Gary Richardson is a Republican candidate for Governor of Oklahoma.  He is a former U.S. Attorney appointed by President Ronald Reagan and a founding member of the law firm, Richardson, Richardson, and Boudreaux.  Gary and his wife, Lanna, reside in Tulsa. Together, they have five children and eleven grandchildren. They are active members of South Tulsa Baptist Church.  Donations to Gary Richardson's campaign can be made at

Saturday, September 23, 2017

OCPA points out Fallin's hypocrisy on special session

Following Governor Mary Fallin's statement on next week's special session, and her threat to veto any measures that include cuts to state agencies, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs put the following post up:

On the 15th, Governor Fallin sent this press release out, officially calling for a special session. From the release (also in her executive order): "Fallin recommended lawmakers: [...] Address the need for more consolidation and other efficiencies in all areas of state government."

Yesterday, she completely changed her tune: "Additional cuts to agencies will further harm state services. I will veto a proposal that calls for cuts to state agencies"

Which is it, Governor Fallin? I guess one could say that she was for "right-sizing government" before she was against it.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Turner's 'Conservative View': A Dollar Store Calculator


I have found that one of the handiest things a person can own is a thing that many of us take for granted; a simple hand held calculator can prevent anyone from making a mistake on one’s checkbook when deducting the amounts when we pay our bills. I can remember when calculators first came out they were very expensive, years ago a simple one would set you back $50.00 or more. Now you can go to the local Dollar Tree store and buy a very good one for one dollar. With all of the talk about the special session of the legislature, I think it would be a good idea for all of our legislators and our governor to make a trip to the local Dollar Tree and purchase one. For less than $200.00 each lawmaker could have his or her very own calculator to check the math on the bills they will be voting on. I recently read an article about a fee that will be placed on child support payments in our state, in the next paragraph I will share what has been told to the citizens and I will use my little one dollar calculator to check their math.

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services is ready to begin assessing a 3 percent fee on child support payments, which they say is expected to generate about $1 million to balance its budget. These collections are handled by Child Support Services, a division of DHS. According to the article the fee will begin October 1st and be capped at $10 per month; this fee is in addition to an annual $25 fee once $500 in support is collected and issued to the custodial person. For example, if a custodial person receives $300 a month, after the fee that person now will receive $291 a month.  It needs to be noted that Gov. Mary Fallin approved the new fee at the end of the latest legislative session. According to the agency the money goes toward offsetting the cost of the collection program. It is also claimed that projections show that the average cost will be $4.31 per month and 78,000 cases are subject to the fee. While that all sounds good, get your calculators out and check the math.

We are told that $1 Million will be raised to support the program. If 78,000 cases are subject to the fee multiply 78,000 by $4.31 average cost by 12 months. The answer is $4,034,160 in my book that is just a little over the $1 million we were told it would generate. If it is a $10 fee then 78,000 X $10 X 12 = $9,360,000. The people of Oklahoma are being led to believe that the cost will only be 1 million dollars; in reality at least 4 million dollars will come out of the economy.  This is just one example how government grows into the monster it has become. Once any agency has a revenue stream it will never go down and they will scream to the high heavens to maintain it. During the last session of the legislature far too many of our elected officials spent all of their time coming up with schemes to raise more money. The passing of fees in our state has become nothing short of a plague upon society. It has gotten to the point where I just hate to see the legislature convene, for I know all of us who pay taxes are going to be hit. Instead of just rubber stamping fees like the one I just illustrated, those little Dollar Tree calculators might be a good thing to have in the future.

Russell Turner is a businessman, farmer, and conservative Republican activist from Adair County, where he served one term as county commissioner. Russell has written his weekly column, 'The Conservative View', for many years. If you wish to contact him or subscribe to his weekly email list, he can be reached at

Gov. Fallin: "I will veto" special session cuts to state agencies

Governor Mary Fallin Statement on Upcoming Special Session

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today issued the following statement on the upcoming special session of the Oklahoma Legislature, which is scheduled to get underway Monday:

“This special session is an opportunity for lawmakers to solve lingering, critical structural problems in our state budget. I am hopeful lawmakers will consider thoughtful, realistic solutions in a timely manner. Many ideas have been fully vetted over the past couple of legislative sessions, so it really should be a matter of taking care of unfinished business.

“Certainly, the most pressing need is to address the immediate budget shortfall created by the loss of the $215 million cigarette fee revenue. The cigarette tax alone will not fill this year’s hole because it would be implemented much later in the fiscal year than originally proposed. We will need to identify other revenue sources to make up the difference. If we do not, additional cuts to core government services will occur.

“Additional cuts to agencies will further harm state services. I will veto a proposal that calls for cuts to state agencies. Also, sending the cigarette tax to a vote of the people is not an option. The earliest the issue could be decided by voters is June, the last month of the current fiscal year. It doesn’t fix the budget hole because it would not generate any revenue for this fiscal year.

“I hope lawmakers do provide a long-term solution to the state’s continuing budget shortfalls. It is apparent that rapid changes in our economy have created unsustainable and unpredictable revenue collection patterns. We need to seek long-term sustainability and stability as opposed to unpredictability and volatility. Our legislators must work to make more recurring revenue available, stop balancing our budget with one-time funds and come up with a teacher pay raise.  Because of the use of one-time funds to balance this year’s budget, we are anticipating a $500 million shortfall next year. The limited focus and attention of a special session can allow us to address these long-term structural issues.

“My staff and I have been talking for many weeks with legislative leaders from both parties, and I will continue to work with them until an agreement is reached. Our challenges in front of us are difficult, but I am hopeful that, with great resolve and statesmanship, we will succeed.”

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Jones proposes tax compromise for budget solution

GOP gubernatorial candidate and State Auditor Gary Jones is out with a proposal for balancing the state budget:

State Auditor Gary Jones proposes a 5% GPT [Gross Production Tax] for first three years and 5% GPT after 3 years. Jones says this should be a part of an agreement to raise tobacco tax and make gasoline and diesel taxes $0.20 across the board. He also proposes an additional 2% on GPT when prices are higher to go into an educational stabilization fund and the rainy day fund.

The plan will raise about $500,000,000 annually and it will leverage another $300,000,000 federally. Jones' plan will fill the current budget hole and fund a much needed teacher's pay raise.

In response to a question on his post, Jones also made this statement: "I believe we can reduce about $300-$400 million in waste and inefficiencies. That with the revenue increase is what is necessary to fill the $900 million shortfall."

The current gasoline and diesel taxes are 17¢ and 14¢ per gallon, respectively. Only South Carolina and Alaska have lower gasoline taxes, and only Alaska has a lower tax on diesel. Texas currently charges 20¢ per gallon on each.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Congressman Russell endorses Lamb for Governor

Rep. Steve Russell endorses Lamb for Governor

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – September 18, 2017 – Republican gubernatorial candidate Todd Lamb announced today he has received the endorsement of Fifth District U.S. Representative Steve Russell (R - Oklahoma City). The Fifth Congressional District encompasses Oklahoma, Pottawatomie and Seminole counties, including the cities of Oklahoma City, Edmond and Shawnee.  

"I have seen firsthand the proven leadership and talent of Todd Lamb when we served together in the state Senate,” Congressman Russell said. “His organizational skill, vision and great way with people made him an incredible floor leader in a very divided Senate. Todd is selfless, has a great moral compass and was willing to lay down his life for others as a United States Secret Service agent.  He has my vote, complete trust and confidence as Oklahoma's next governor."

Lamb said, “I am honored to earn the endorsement of Congressman Russell and appreciate the manner in which he represents the Fifth District in Washington, D.C.  He has never shied away from his conservative principles; the same principles that guide me on a daily basis, and that will define my gubernatorial administration.  Steve Russell has earned the respect of his constituents and conservative colleagues in the U.S. House, and I am excited to count him as a member of my campaign team.”

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Death of Honor in the GOP

Being a Republican used to mean something. A higher standard of conduct was demanded and expected. Honesty and integrity were commonplace. We policed our own. We were "the Party of Family Values".

Looking at the news today, one can witness the death of honor in the Republican Party.

It's indicative of the culture at large, in one sense. A society that increasingly rejects God and His standards will elect men and women who do the same. To paraphrase Scripture, they profess one thing with their lips but prove another with their actions. However, our inherently sinful nature does not excuse wrong actions.

Here are just a few examples I'm thinking of.

Republicans in Congress spent seven years claiming they would "Repeal and Replace" ObamaCare as soon as they were given control of the U.S. House U.S. Senate White House. American voters gave them everything they asked for, but when the time came, they were unprepared and unwilling to do what they had promised to do for seven years and four election cycles. They lied to the American public. They said what they needed to in order to get elected, never intending to actually follow through, otherwise they would have been prepared to act when they time came.

You can even look at the nomination of Donald Trump, a man with a crude and immoral past, who exhibited no change on the campaign trail, belittling and demeaning those who opposed him, and who fabricated and circulated false and (to be honest) slanderous quotes and stories about his GOP competitors.

Oklahoma Congressman Markwayne Mullin made a pledge to run for only three terms in Congress. He repeated that promise numerous times and through his re-election campaigns. Now, he brazenly breaks it without remorse, and expects us to be fine with it.

Republicans in the Oklahoma Legislature have seen unprecedented scandal and outrage in the past two years, and last eight months in particular. A state representative resigned after allegations he sexual harassed his assistant. A full ten percent of the State Senate GOP caucus has left office for crimes: one state senator went to federal prison for embezzlement of nearly two million dollars, another is likely going to prison for a very long time due to child prostitution and child porn, another broke campaign finance laws by embezzling $100,000 from his campaign for his private use, and another just resigned and was charged with sexual battery after previously getting in trouble for drinking and driving. The governor's chief finance officer has had repeated drunk driving charges, and still holds his position. Several former legislators have had run-ins with the law, or are rumored to have not sought re-election in order to avoid scandal coming to light.

Three other state representatives ran for office, only to turn around and resign to take private sector jobs within as little as 24 days of being re-elected. They spent time and money asking voters to elect them to represent them, then spurned that duty in favor of greener pastures. They thus denied their constituents of the representation they voted for and cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars by causing special elections.

Republican candidates (nationwide and in Oklahoma) spend millions of dollars on the campaign trail touting conservative principles, only to betray those values when they get in office. The pressure from leadership, lobbyists, and groups desperate for more government taxpayer money, along with the siren call of power, is too much for them to withstand. They take the easy road, tossing aside their campaign rhetoric (which they neither believed nor intended to keep) -- and along with it what voters expected them to do based on what they were promised.

All of this, and Republican Party leaders and elected officials (by and large) just shrug, and say "well, look at the Democrats."  That's not good enough. The Party of personal responsibility needs some serious self-examination. Democrats aren't the ones who have been in the Oklahoma news these last two years with scandal after scandal. Democrats get in Congress and do what they said they would do.

The responsibility doesn't lie solely with the candidates and elected officials; we, the voters share some of that blame, because we've fallen for the slick campaigning and elected and re-elected these individuals. "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."

The Republican Party needs to clean up house from top to bottom. If the elected officials won't do it, then Party officials need to speak up. The silence has been deafening.

Voters have a responsibility to weigh the actions of each elected official against what they pledged to do and against what they ought to do, and throw them out if they fail to match the standard. If we don't do our duty, we can expect the Republican house to begin to crumble.

Friday, September 15, 2017

OKGOP's Carolyn McLarty announces for SD27 special election

Hat-tip to Kenny Bob Tapp for this great news:

Carolyn McLarty Announces Run For State Senate District 27

“It’s time to stop talking and start DOING! It is time to put the principles of good government to work. I am prepared to do this; I have the knowledge, experience and the proven conservative track record needed to be an effective State Senator. I am reliable and I am passionate about what is best for the people of District 27. With the current budget crisis in our state and multiple challenges in the economy, education, and health care, we need assertive and faithful leadership to bring opportunities for stability and prosperity back to Oklahoma,” McLarty said.

Dr. Carolyn McLarty is a retired veterinarian, who operated the Animal Care Clinic in Woodward for 20 years. Since 2008 she has served as the Republican National Committeewoman for Oklahoma. In this position, she has represented our state’s conservative values consistently. She has demonstrated her ability to effectively lead while serving on the RNC Executive Committee and as Chairman of the Resolutions Committee.

She believes that upholding conservative principles is vital for our leaders. “Leading based upon our moral compass and guiding faith can thwart pressure from outside influences. When we make decisions based upon our faith and values, we can build a safer more prosperous state for our children; a state where they can thrive and raise their own families with a higher quality of life,” McLarty said.

A strong proponent for education, and the quality of education our children receive, McLarty fought to encourage development of excellent new standards for Oklahoma education to replace Common Core. “It is vital that we provide our children the best education that we can. Education for good citizenship is imperative for a government “by the people.” Further, quality education ensures that our children can aspire to higher goals, and enrich the State with their talents,” McLarty said.

“Through my experience in the Republican National Committee, I have worked hard to create win-win outcomes between the establishment and the grassroots. I can work in the State Senate to pass legislation that ensures that our state government serves the people of the entire Senate District 27 from Northwestern Oklahoma to the end of the Panhandle. I will fight hard to encourage legislation that enables our conservative principles and values to bring security, liberty, and prosperity to the District. As a sovereign state, we must push back the encroachment of the Federal Government into state government functions,” McLarty emphasized.

Carolyn McLarty has been married to Tom for 42 years. Together they have three children and three grandchildren. She served on the Board of Directors at the Pregnancy Center in Woodward for nine years. She also served as President of the Northwest Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association, was Chairman of the Board of the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority Board, Board Member of Eagle Forum, a national conservative pro-life organization and was a delegate/alternate to the Republican National Conventions for the past five Presidential elections.

Fallin officially calls Special Session

Governor Mary Fallin Calls Special Session to Deal with Budget Shortfall, Government Inefficiencies and Teacher Pay Increases

OKLAHOMA CITY - Governor Mary Fallin today issued an executive order calling for a special session of the Oklahoma Legislature for lawmakers to address the shortfall in the current fiscal year budget as well as develop long-term solutions to government inefficiencies and fund a pay increase for public school teachers.

The governor called for the first extraordinary session of the 56th Legislature to convene Monday, Sept. 25.

Fallin recommended lawmakers:

  • Address the immediate budget shortfall created by the loss of the $215 million cigarette fee revenue.
  • Have the option to address a long-term solution to continuing budget shortfalls.
  • Address the need for more consolidation and other efficiencies in all areas of state government.
  • Clarify intended exemptions to the new 1.25 percent sales tax on vehicles. 
  • Address a needed pay increase for K-12 public school teachers.

“Urgent action is needed,” said Fallin. “Lawmakers need to come together quickly to fill this fiscal year’s budget hole so our citizens can be assured they will receive necessary core services. I also am asking them to develop solutions to address structural deficits in our budget. For decades, we have attempted to balance our budget for too long with the use of one-time resources. We must develop a budget based on stability, not volatility.”

The state’s 2018 fiscal year budget, which took effect July 1, has a shortfall of $215 million as a result of last month’s Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling, which struck down a proposed smoking cessation fee that was estimated to raise that amount. The $215 million represents just state funds. With the loss of matching federal funds, state agencies estimate the total is nearly $500 million.

“In the call, I have also given the Legislature the authority to address the need for more efficiencies in state government, which should provide long-term savings for the taxpayers,” the governor said. “In this regard, I have provided the budget committee chairpersons an extensive list of efficiencies I have proposed.

“I have been talking with legislative leaders from both parties and I will continue to work with them until an agreement is reached,” Fallin said. “I wish we had an easy button to push but that is not reality. Our challenges in front of us are difficult and it will take great resolve and statesmanship for us to be successful.”

Fallin said it is important for lawmakers to provide sufficient revenues to meet the basic responsibilities of state government, such as education, health and public safety.

“We must deliver services that work for the people, and put people over politics,” the governor said.

“I have also provided the legislative authority to clarify our intention that the new 1.25 percent sales tax on vehicles not extend to the trucking industry,” she said.

Fallin said it’s time a permanent pay raise is enacted for public school teachers. However, the governor said a pay raise alone will not improve student outcomes, urging lawmakers to ensure more existing dollars are reaching the classroom by eliminating administrative inefficiencies.

“I encourage lawmakers to see this special session as an opportunity to change the fiscal course we are headed,” said Fallin. “I hope they seize the moment to pass legislation that makes more recurring revenue available, reduces our reliance on one-time funds, and puts our state on the path to success.”

Pro Tem Schulz pushes cigarette tax, urges pre-special session agreement

Senate Pro Tem urges lawmakers to come together with revenue plan ahead of special session

With a special session less than two weeks away, Oklahoma Senate Pro Tem Mike Schulz called on lawmakers to put partisan politics aside and come together on a plan to fill the $215 million budget hole created by court rulings this summer.

“The special session is rapidly approaching and all we’ve seen so far is political games from both sides of the aisle. I understand why the public would think it’s ‘déjà vu all over again’ and worry that the special session will be a repeat of the end of regular session," said Schulz, R-Altus.

“We don’t have time in a special session for ideas that have not been thoroughly vetted in the legislative process. We don’t have time to rehash arguments from the past two years. Before the special session is gaveled in, we need to have an agreement and plan in place so that we can move quickly and effectively. It’s time to come together. It’s time to stop bickering and playing political games. It’s time to do the job Oklahomans elected us to do."

“Senate Republicans have met three times since the initial court ruling that left a $215 million hole in the budget. We’re preparing for every scenario, but it’s clear to the Senate that the best path forward is to pass a $1.50 cigarette tax increase. The Senate passed a cigarette tax during the regular session and the Senate is ready to move on it again if the House can send one our way."

“Let’s do this now, get it done quickly in special session to address the budget hole and return our entire focus to important issues like job creation and economic development, regulatory and tax reform, and increasing educational quality and opportunity for Oklahomans.”

Thursday, September 14, 2017

State Reps. Moore, Cleveland Issue Republican Budget Challenge

Moore, Cleveland Issue Republican Budget Challenge

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Reps. Lewis Moore and Bobby Cleveland announced today they are challenging Republican lawmakers to prepare for a line-by-line budget review ahead of a pre-session Republican Caucus meeting in December. Moore and Cleveland hope lawmakers will each find $50 million to $100 million in budget reductions and efficiencies.

 “We have spent too much time and energy lately finding creative ways to increase revenue,” said Moore, R-Arcadia. “This Republican Budget Challenge is a way for us to shift our focus back to conservative principles: eliminating waste, streamlining government and finding efficiencies that benefit Oklahomans. It can and has to be done."

 “We understand going line by line through agency budgets is a tedious task,” Moore said. “But, if we spent even half as much time rooting out waste as we have trying to increase revenue through the legislative process, I bet we could find some real savings. For the past few years, the legislature has allocated money to agencies in block grant form, with agencies determining how they would allocate funds within their agencies.  The legislature, which represents the citizen’s will, to include how much money to raise and spend, should go through each agency budget, line-by-line, prioritizing needs and dictating spending.  I believe each agency and our citizens will be better served with greater scrutiny."

 After the December caucus meeting, Moore and Cleveland hope to release results outlining the top ideas to the public ahead of the 2018 session.

 “We urge all of our members to participate in this challenge,” said Cleveland, R-Slaughterville. “We are hearing from Oklahomans across our state who believe there are inefficiencies in state government. It is our job to ensure a more efficient system, and the Republican Budget Challenge allows us to do just that.

 “We are excited to see the great ideas that this challenge produces. At the end of the day, we cannot expect taxpayers to bear the brunt of higher taxes when we all know there’s plenty of waste to be found in our system. Our citizens deserve better,” Cleveland said.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Democrats take another legislative seat in HD46 special election

In the special election held in House District 46 today, Democrats once again emerged victorious, snatching another Republican-held seat away and continuing their recent success in special elections. Democrats have lost only one legislative special election since April 2015, flipping two House seats (HD85 and HD75) and two Senate seats (SD34 and SD44). The "one that got away" was HD28, which Republican Zach Taylor held for the GOP by a mere 56 votes.

Democrat Jacob Rosecrants defeated Republican Darin Chambers 60.41% to 39.59%. Ironically, that's the exact same percentage that Scott Martin defeated Rosecrants by in 2016,  four and a half months before Martin announced his resignation to take a job with the Norman Chamber of Commerce.

House District 46 has a Republican District Rating (RDR) of 48.7, making it the 13th-most Democrat Republican-held seat (36th most Democrat out of 101 seats). Still, past elections have been heavily weighted to the Republican side; 60.41% in 2016, 64.4% in 2014, unopposed in 2012, 80.3% in 2010, 65.76% in 2008.

Until the continued drip, drip of scandals coming from Republicans at the State Capitol is stopped, Republicans can likely expect more losses in the future. The Democrats were unable to turn special election success into general election success in 2016, but 2018 may be different.

Another one bites the dust: State Sen. Marlatt resigns

The latest in a string of Republicans to resign in disgrace, State Sen. Bryce Marlatt stepped down today after being booked into the Oklahoma County Jail this morning for one felony count of sexual battery. He was released on bond.

The charge stems from an incident in late June, when Marlatt attempted to assault an Uber driver in Oklahoma City who was driving him to a bar. Marlatt had previously had a DUI-related charge a year or two ago, but evidently alcohol got him into more trouble again.

Marlatt had represented Senate District 27 (Panhandle and northwest corner of the state) since 2008, and was the chairman of the Senate Energy Committee before being removed after news of the incident broke in July.

Marlatt joins an illustrious "club" of legislators (all Republican) who have resigned from office in recent years due to sexual or legal misdoings:
  • State Sen. Rick Brinkley resigned in August 2015 after embezzling nearly $2M to support his gambling addiction
  • State Rep. Dan Kirby resigned in February 2017 after allegations he sexual harassed his assistant
  • State Sen. Ralph Shortey resigned after being charged with child prostitution in March 2017
  • State Sen. Kyle Loveless resigned in April over campaign ethics violations and embezzlement 

This creates the eighth empty seat in the state legislature since the 2016 election. Aside from Kirby, Shortey and Loveless mentioned above, the other vacancies are State Rep. Tom Newell (for a private sector job), State Rep. Scott Martin (for private sector job), State Rep. David Brumbaugh's sudden death, and State Sen. Dan Newberry (resignation to take a private sector job).

Monday, September 11, 2017

Hern holding special election campaign kickoff Thursday

Kevin Hern for Congress Announces Kickoff Event

Tulsa, OK –Kevin Hern invites you to join his family, John Doak, and Don Newberry as he formally announces his candidacy in the special election for Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional District and kickstarts his campaign this Thursday, September 14, 2017. The special election is taking place due to President Trump’s nomination of Representative Jim Bridenstine to head NASA.

“For the past 19 years, my family has had the honor to call Tulsa home,” said Mr. Hern. “In that time, I have been proud to get to know members of our diverse community through both living and working here. These relationships have led to a newfound passion for serving the people of Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional District in the United States Congress.

“Now, more than ever, the American people understand that we need proven problem solvers, who understand how to create jobs, representing the people’s interest in Washington D.C. I have first-hand knowledge on not only how to create jobs, but also on the damage government bureaucrats cause to our economy. I will use my experience to change the way business is done in Washington. I look forward to sharing my solutions to the problems facing our nation as I campaign throughout the district.”

The event will be held at Jenks Central Park, 208 N. Elm, from 6:00-7:30PM. The event is free and open to the public.

TaxCutsNow Bus Tour stopping in Tulsa, OKC on Tuesday

As announced last week, Job Creators Network's TaxCutsNow bus tour is stopping in Oklahoma City tomorrow [Tuesday]!

We have just received word that the bus tour is making an additional stop in Tulsa tomorrow as well! The TaxCutsNow bus will be outside the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 7902 S. Lewis Ave., in Tulsa tomorrow from 12:50 PM - 1:20 PM.

Both events are sponsored by Job Creators Network, Freedom Works, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, and Americans for Prosperity-Oklahoma. The rallies will feature local policy experts and community leaders.

American small businesses and hard-working taxpayers have been struggling under high tax rates for years. It's time we change that. Passing tax cuts now means creating more jobs, increasing wages, expanding the economy, and letting Washington take less out of your wallet.

Please join us on tomorrow in either Oklahoma City or Tulsa to show your support for small businesses and other hard-working taxpayers.

Music Monday: Have You Forgotten?

This week's Music Monday is Have You Forgotten? by country music artist Darryl Worley, and is about the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. This video contains images and video from that day -- reminders of what our nation suffered and experienced 16 years ago today.

May we never forget.

Click to go below the page break to see all previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to suggest for a future Music Monday? Email me at

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Doke touts Muskogee County's first balanced budget since '09

From Muskogee County Commissioner Ken Doke (R-Dist. 1):

Yesterday marked the dawning of a new day for Muskogee County. For a number of years now, the county has been operating in the red with deficit budgets. In fact, between 2010 and 2015, the county spent $2,252,441 more than it brought in revenue. Beginning in 2015, the board of county commissioners set out to fix this problem. We began creating new policies and committed to fixing the county's budget woes.

In 2016, commissioners passed a balanced budget that was designed to end deficit spending. For the first time in years, we finished the year with no RED numbers. In fact, Muskogee County ended the year with a surplus balance of $1.2 Million. With a $1.2 Million carry-over balance, we were able to start this NEW fiscal year with the largest budget in Muskogee County history.

Having better managed our funds, we found ourselves in a position to do some things that were long overdue. We are going to put a new roof and replace the HVAC at the courthouse. We are going to be able to pay for these enormous costs out of our budget rather than asking for tax payers to pass a bond. We plan to help Sheriff Rob Frazier purchase new patrol cars. We set aside funds for District Attorney, Orvil Loge to hire a civil attorney to help with his case load for the next year. We allocated monies to the volunteers of the Sheriff's patrol so that they could purchase new equipment.

The OSU Extension had suffered severe state budget cuts, and was at risk of having to cut staff and programs to our area youth. Muskogee County was able to step up and provide the needed funding to keep that agency alive, and continue providing agricultural training and programs to students throughout Muskogee County.

I would like to say thank you to the rest of our commissioner board and to our elected officials throughout the county who bought into the vision; came together; and made the necessary sacrifices to put the county back on the road to success. It is nice to be looking ahead and proactively fixing our problems now compared to where we were just a year or two ago.

Note: In 2014, Doke became the first Republican to be elected as a County Commissioner in Muskogee County. Balancing the budget has been one of the things he's pushed for while in office, and I believe this wouldn't have happened without his efforts.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Court ruling is dangerous for the Oklahoma taxpayer

The recent ruling by the Oklahoma Supreme Court has opened a dangerous can of worms for the Oklahoma taxpayer. By essentially eviscerating Article V, Section 33 of the Oklahoma Constitution, the Court now has given the Legislature free rein to hike taxes on Oklahomans in complete disregard of the will of the people as expressed in passage of SQ 640, which was intended to place strict limits on the increasing of Oklahomans' tax burden by the Legislature.

Governor Fallin, who plans to issue a call for a special session, began the year by pressing for nearly $2,600,000,000 (2.6 Billion with a B) in new and increased taxes. $1.7B of that would have come by removing the sales tax exemption on services. Armed with this ruling, she may feel emboldened to continue that push for higher taxes. Legislators should resist her, and Oklahomans should flood the State Capitol with calls against raising taxes or fees or removing tax exemptions, or whatever other loophole the Governor and Legislature may try to use to squeeze more money out of taxpayers for the state's coffers.

Justice Combs said this in his dissent, and I am in full agreement with him:
The aim of the people in adopting State Question 640 must not be thwarted by such parsing of words and definitions. The Legislature must not be allowed to circumvent the requirements of Okla. Const. art. 5, § 33 when the clear principal object and purpose is to raise new revenue.
$10 billion worth of tax exemptions in the Oklahoma tax code are now subject to removal by a bare majority vote, rather than the 3/4ths vote intended by the petitioners and voters who wrote and approved SQ 640 in 1992. Hold on to your wallets, folks, because Governor Fallin and the Legislature will be coming for them.

Former OKGOP National Committeeman Steve Fair wrote this on his blog in response to the ruling:
[W]e need a statute of limitations on removal of exemptions. If a good or service has not been taxed for eighty years, then it should be considered a new tax or fee. [...] This was clearly a loophole the legislature was looking for to fill this year’s budget hole.
I think that's a great idea. Hopefully, some taxpayer-defending legislator will take up the mantle next session and work to advance a measure along these lines.

Oklahomans will need to keep a close eye on the Special Session that will begin on September 25th. Your wallet will be placed on the table by a pack of hungry vultures who have complete disregard for the intent and purpose of Article V, Section 33 of the Oklahoma Constitution.

Gov. Fallin plans to call Special Session beginning Sept. 25th

Governor Mary Fallin Statement on Plans to Call Special Session to Adjust Budget for Current Fiscal Year

OKLAHOMA CITY - Governor Mary Fallin today issued the following statement on her plans to call a special legislative session for lawmakers to adjust the current fiscal year budget:

“I am planning on calling a special session beginning September 25 for legislators to adjust the current fiscal year budget. A formal call for a special session will be issued in the next few days, but I wanted to announce my intention to call a special session for planning purposes. I also want Oklahomans to know we are working diligently to address the fiscal matters of our state.”

EDITOR’S [Press Office] NOTE:  The state’s 2018 fiscal year budget has a shortfall of $215 million as a result of last month’s Oklahoma Supreme Court’s ruling, which struck down a proposed smoking cessation fee that was estimated to raise that amount. The $215 million represents just state funds. With the loss of matching federal funds state agencies estimate the total is nearly $500 million.

SoonerPoll: Lamb 32%, Cornett 29%, all others in single digits

Bill Shapard of SoonerPoll went on KFAQ's Pat Campbell Show yesterday morning, and mentioned some polling numbers from two surveys they ran in recent days. These figures had not previously been released publicly.

GOP Gubernatorial Primary
Todd Lamb 32%
Mick Cornett 29%
All others below 10%
MoE +/- 4.81%

GOP Lieutenant Governor's Primary
Dewey Bartlett 22% (not currently a candidate)
Dana Murphy 10%
Matt Pinnell 7%
Undecided 60%

You can hear Shapard's interview here. When more details of this survey are released, I will post them.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

OCPA: "Messaging" Matters, So Do Facts

"Messaging" Matters, So Do Facts

As chair of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, Rep. Leslie Osborn was one of the legislature’s budget negotiators earlier this year. She used that position to make the case for a litany of tax increases, claiming that Oklahomans are “tired of us doing things the way we’ve always done them.” This begs the question: what has the state been doing?

As one of the most conservative states when it comes to election results, some might assume that the Oklahoma legislature continually cuts taxes. In fact, the state ranks 36th in per capita tax collections. A study shows that Oklahoma historically has had an above average tax burden compared to the rest of the nation. While there have been some state tax cuts, Jonathan Small has shown that the legislature has also increased revenue.

Despite changes in tax laws and fluctuations in revenue, what has remained constant year after year has been the increase in state government spending. According to the data from Oklahoma’s most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), state government has increased spending in 22 of the last 23 years. Despite recessions in 2008 and 2015, when many Oklahoma families had to make tough choices, Oklahoma government continued to spend.

During the same interview Leslie Osborn said that “more than ever the message and the meaning is going to matter more.” Message matters, but it is imperative they be not only sincere, but also based on facts. Oklahoma government has been growing, not shrinking. People might question the priorities in the budget or in how agencies spend money, but the total burden on Oklahomans is higher than ever.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court opinion striking down SB 845 states “by strictly limiting the Legislature's ability to enact laws that generate additional revenue—the people's preference that when revenues shrink, so too does their government.” This is the people’s will as expressed in the Oklahoma Constitution. Maybe the state should try doing things this way?

Denise Crosswhite Hader announces for HD41

Denise Crosswhite Hader Seeks Oklahoma House District 41 Seat

Denise Crosswhite Hader, Republican, officially announced her candidacy for Oklahoma House District 41 for the 2018 election cycle.  District 41 is currently represented by John Enns.  District 41 includes all of Piedmont, Surrey Hills, Waukomis, Drummond, Lahoma, Carrier, Hillsdale, Bison, and portions of Enid, Cashion, Deer Creek, and Oklahoma City.

Crosswhite Hader has had a passion for impacting public policy her entire life.  Having learned governmental and legislative processes as a Congressional Field Representative, a Legislative Liaison to Former Labor Commissioner, Mark Costello, and as a House staff member at the Oklahoma State Capitol; Denise will hit the ground running to rein in out of control government programs and focus on the core functions that state government should provide.  Crosswhite Hader served on the Tinker Bond oversight committee which provided enhancements to the base to protect our state’s largest employer against BRAC closure.  Her legislative priorities are transportation infrastructure, military, public safety, corrections, and giving more freedom and local control to public education.

“Like the vast majority of Americans, I am tired of folks who run for political office claiming the values of opinion polls and then betraying their claimed convictions as soon as they are elected.  In me, if I receive the privilege of being elected, the citizens will have a representative with a servant’s heart, which will work to eliminate legislative and bureaucratic entanglements in their lives.  I want to restore the American Dream for the citizens of District 41 and the State of Oklahoma by allowing them to take back more control of their own lives.  I am excited to meet the citizens of District 41 face to face, to ask them about their priorities, answer their questions, share my qualifications, explain my convictions, and ask for their vote.” Crosswhite Hader said.

Crosswhite Hader is a 1983 graduate of Piedmont High School and has a degree in Government from Oral Roberts University.  She owns a small property management company.  Denise and her husband, Marc Hader, live in Surrey Hills.  They have two daughters and sons-in-law who live in the metro area, and are enjoying their grandchildren, Reagan, Lincoln and Grant, ages 3, 2, and 1.