Friday, February 02, 2018

Brogdon: the tax hike band is back together

The Band is Back Together
by former State Senator Randy Brogdon

Yes, the band is back together and like most Oklahomans, I’m not crazy about the song they’re singing.

I’m talking about the band of billionaires and millionaires who created “Step Up Oklahoma.” The name alone is highly offensive suggesting we taxpayers need to step as if we’re not stepping up enough already. And of course their step up plan always plays the same tune: Money…….. Money……… Money………. More Money.

In other words, grab your wallets and purses, because when these billionaire and millionaire limousine liberals get done with you, your wallets and purses are going to be considerably lighter. Of course, for your own good.

But let’s look a little closer at who the supporters of Step Up Oklahoma are. Step Up Oklahoma is not filled with average hardworking taxpayers like service technicians, bakers, auto mechanics, electricians, and small business owners etc., you know, average salt of the earth people. No, these are uber-wealthy men and women many of whom are politically connected and ready for action. Right now in the legislature, plans are being drawn to tap into your personal income.

I faced these people in the past so I know them and their tactics well.

Let me tell you a little story. Back in 2006 I led a statewide initiative called the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR). The legislation simply limited how fast government spending could grow based on inflation and population increases. A pretty reasonable proposal that was undermined politically, by some of the same people who now support Step Up Oklahoma. Imagine that! They oppose limiting government spending but support raising taxes. Well, at least they’re consistent!

Let me give you an example to illustrate who some of these folks are. Consider current Republican House Majority Leader Jon Echols, the attorney that represented the group that worked to defeat TABOR. Leader Echols “talks” about lower taxes and efficient government. In fact, Leader Echols told me personally during the last Special Session that he was committed to fight back Fallin’s tax increases. Let the record show this same Jon Echols ended up voting for all of Fallin’s tax increase proposals. And now, the second coming of Leaders Echols told NewsOK that the Step Up Oklahoma proposals would be at the top of the House agenda in February when session begins.

This has now spilled over into gubernatorial politics as Oklahoma prepares to elect a new governor this year.

As of the 4th Quarter 2017, members of Step Up have donated $49,200 to Todd Lamb’s gubernatorial race. Now Todd is quick to point out that he is against any new taxes. But just this week he said he does support Fallins idea of removing tax exemptions on some current goods and services which could add up to over $6 Billion in new taxes.

Let us consider Lt. Lambs carefully chosen words. He is not for any “new” taxes he forcefully states. Fair enough. But when a product or service is exempt from taxation, and the tax exemption is removed, well as you probably guessed the tax just increased and the cost of a product or service will go up. In other words, you will now pay more for that product or service in the form of a new tax. It will actually be a new tax and Lt. Gov. Lamb and Gov. Fallin are hoping to add billions of your dollars to the State bank account. Don’t be fooled by clever and misleading language, Lt. Gov. Lambs/Gov. Fallin’s proposal is a new tax.

When will these clever politicians learn that we’ve figure their game out?

One wonders who might have Lt. Gov. Lambs ear on this one? Could it be his Campaign Chairman Larry Nichols, (CEO Devon Energy) who surprise, surprise is one of the funders of Step up Oklahoma and a long time financial supporter of Lt. Gov. Lamb? This is the same duo that kept hundreds of millions of dollars flowing to the oil and gas industry with special tax credits while Lt. Gov. Lamb was in the senate. I bet Lt. Gov. Lamb won’t be too eager to remove those million dollar deals as governor. Just a guess.

But wait, there’s more!

Mick Cornett has received $32,300 from Step Up members in his race for governor. Mick said on KFAQ that tax increases are on the table for consideration. At least Mick is frank about raising taxes. He might as well be because that is what he has bragged about throughout his tenure as Mayor of OKC. Wonder where he got his tax increase ideas. Maybe it was his Campaign Treasure, financial supporter, and funder of Step up Oklahoma, David Rainbolt.

Many of the same people who are blatantly out front trying to raise your taxes are financing Lt. Gov. Lamb’s and Mayor Cornett’s campaign for governor. In fact, some are hedging their bets by donating to both campaigns. Make no mistake though, their ultimate goal is to raise taxes and eliminate any constraints on spending. The more tax dollars they get their hands on the more politicians they can “support.”

Here is what we know for sure from the quarterly financial disclosures from each campaign for governor. Supporters of Step Up Oklahoma have donated the following amounts to the campaigns:

  • Todd Lamb - $49,200
  • Mick Cornett - $32,300
  • Kevin Stitt - $4,950
  • Gary Jones - $2,700
  • Gary Richardson - $500
  • Dan Fisher - $0.00

I encourage you to look up Leader Jon Echols financial disclosure forms. I think you may be shocked to see how much PAC money he gobbles up including $2000 from the Devon PAC. You can find financial disclosure forms for ALL candidates at:

It’s simple just look under Search then Candidate Committee and you’ll see everything.

Here’s the bottom line. Step up Oklahoma is a horrible step in the wrong direction. It isn’t for the people, it’s for the politicians and the rich individuals who fund them.

Step Up is more like a giant Step Back for all Oklahomans. I hope the legislature comes to its senses and takes the Nancy Reagan approach when it comes to Billion dollar tax increases... just say No.
But if they don’t, it will be up to you to flood the Capitol in protest. This is a bad and raw deal for Oklahoman’s. Make no mistake, this band is playin' the wrong tune.

This column was originally posted on the Oklahoma Constitution Newspaper's Facebook group.


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