Dangerous Game

By Cheryl Williams

During the past seven years, the Legislature and Gov. Fallin have played a very dangerous game with the future of our state. During every one of the past seven years, they have taken money from various state agency funds and replaced it with borrowed money, including about $500 million from the state road funds. All “the sky is falling” and wringing of hands is nothing more than a ploy to get hard-working Oklahomans to pay up to cover up the greed and mismanagement that has been replete at 23rd and Lincoln.

All the money in the world will not fix the continued mismanagement of state funds. In recent months, we have learned that $30 million has been mismanaged (that we know of) at the Department of Health; unknown amounts have been mismanaged at the Deparmentt of Tourism; there are still 500-plus school districts with the majority of them unwilling to spend 60 percent of their funds on the classroom (including teacher pay increases) but who can buy out superintendents’ contracts. Add to the mix that the state coffers have more money than ever and it reaffirms what every sane taxpayer knows: More money will not fix the mismanagement! It’s time to just say no more taxes!

 

 

 

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Time For Justice; Plan To Abolish Abortion

IMG_2351.JPGEncouraging pastors, churches and everyone across Oklahoma to attend The Time For Justice Rally to hear the plan to abolish abortion (child sacrifice) in Oklahoma!

Sign up soon at:  https://fisherforgovernor.com/the-time-for-justice-rally/

Teague: Step Up tax hike was irresponsible

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From Jamison Faught

Rep. Tess Teague:

Today, as you all know, the Oklahoma House of Representatives voted on the tax increases that were part of the Step Up Oklahoma plan put together by a coalition of businessmen. The tax increases would have totaled $723 million and would have represented the largest tax increase in state history.

The vote was held open until 11:00 p.m. tonight and did not pass. The final vote was 63-35. Being that it needed 76 aye, the bill has failed.

I voted no.

I heard from many people in this district before the vote, during it and afterwards. While I know some were for it – and who can blame teachers for wanting (needing) a pay raise and advocating for this legislation – most of this district was against it. I have been on the doorsteps this interim and last week during the evenings after session. I’ve been in your living rooms discussing the budget and tax increases. Today when I went to the Capitol to vote, I took those conversations with me. I stood up against Step Up. While teachers certainly need a pay raise, the Legislature owes it to this state to make sure that happens the right way and we owe it to hard working taxpayers to be respectful of your hard earned dollars and not rob you of it.

I cannot in full conscience vote on such a massive tax increase package because I believe it is irresponsible governance to ignore the systematic issues that got Oklahoma into this mess and stick my hands into taxpayer’s pockets to solve budget woes. Band-aid taxation is not and will not be the answer. This tax package would have raised, among other things, your income tax and your gas tax. Why have business leaders with above average salaries put together a plan that puts the financial burden on working class Oklahomans? Average salaries of my neighbors in HD101 look a lot different than this coalition. This is how we’re supposed to step up? The onus is not on citizens – it is on the Legislature.

It might interest many of you to know that state tax collections are running ahead of schedule for this fiscal year and our economy is ticking up (not to mention, many of the bills we passed in regular session and in the special sessions raised a lot of revenue) and we are actually about to find out in about a week and a half that we have a surplus. I hear that number will be somewhere in the range of $170 million. Wondering why this plan was being rushed through with the utmost emergence right now and just could not wait?? Because how silly would it be to let that news come out and then try to play like we still needed it. When I have money in the bank, I don’t ask for a loan and neither should our state. State revenue is up $815 million over the last year, which is enough to balance the budget and give teachers a $5,000 pay raise without a tax increase.

I’ve also been asked, “You voted no, so what’s your solution?” There are so many answers to that. The most obvious being that waste, fraud and abuse is not just a hypothetical, but a proven issue in our state agencies and we have got to get control of our state government. Yes, we need audits. Yes, we need investigations. Yes, this will save money and stop the bleeding. No, it’s not the only solution. There are countless other reforms including, but not limited to, BTU tax on oil (60% of this would be paid by people out of state and would net a $1 billion return if not more), using existing funds from the CLO could pay for a $5,000 teacher pay raise, TSET funds could be used, administrative costs in higher education could be brought to the national average and would save $300 million per year. The list goes on. I’ve been repeating today that although the future looks bleak and it might not seem like there is light at the end of the tunnel, it’s only the second week of session. Now that the Step Up plan has been defeated, I believe the Legislature can get back to work on something that can pass without harming the hard working taxpayer.

I’d also note that I find it so incredibly strange that we were ready to attach a teacher pay raise to an unstable income source. The state relied too heavily on oil and gas and when it tanked, so did the state. If we attach our teacher pay raise to something with such fluctuation, can we really consider it stable? Or what about the cigarette tax? Wasn’t the incentive for the cigarette tax cessation? Aren’t we passing this tax to get people to stop smoking? Well if people stop smoking…then the tax money stops coming in. So….there goes the pay raise. I can’t believe this seemed like a viable option. Teachers, you deserve better!

I want to thank those of you who have interacted with me and called my cell phone, called my office, sent emails, reached out on Facebook, or given me tea and soda when I stop by your house! I want to especially thank you for your understanding and patience as I go through all of my correspondence and write each and every one of you back. I want to make sure I give everyone the time they deserve. As you can see from this post, the explanations get lengthy.

As always, I welcome your feedback, thoughts, questions, concerns, etc.

Teague represents House District 101, which covers portions of southeastern Oklahoma County.
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Step Up Oklahoma; Step Down For Oklahoma Taxpayer

IMG_2332.JPGBy Kenny Bob Tapp

In the 2017 regular and special sessions the Governor and State Legislature faced defeat by We The People on several of their efforts to shake the Oklahoma Taxpayer down to fill their self induced almost $1 billion budget shortfall.
In the early 90’s to thwart the Tax and Spend Liberal Democrat majority, citizens passed ballot initiative State Question 640 which put a 3/4 threshold vote in the legislature before anymore tax/revenue measures could be passed on the citizenry. Fast forward to the 2017 session, a Liberal (r)epublican Legislative majority and Governor are infuriated that most of their tax increase attempts have been blocked by SQ 640.

In an attempt to get Oklahomans on board with passing the largest tax increase proposal in state history worth over $800 million, Governor Fallin has joined with a Tall Building Crowd and Oklahoma State Chamber organization, Step Up Oklahoma.

Step Up Oklahoma has unveiled a plan that not only includes tax increase proposals on tobacco, the oil industry, 6 cents on motor vehicle fuel but also a tax increase on the state income tax. To add insult to injury, Step Up is promoting legislation to propose a State Question to repeal the 3/4 threshold SQ 640 Taxpayer Protection and replace it with a mere 60% threshold when passing tax/revenue increase measures in the legislature. This simple 10% over the majority vote would make it open season every time the State Legislature and Governor wanted to shake down taxpayers.

This Monday and the following days of Session, we will see many of these proposals come before committee and floor votes in the State Senate and State House. Oklahomans must contact their state legislators ASAP and demand nothing short of cuts to waste and streamlining government.

Several proposals to streamline government and waste in order to fill the self induced budget shortfall have been offered by Conservative groups and legislators only to be rejected by the Tax and Spend legislative majority and Governor.  I point to a handful here: https://kennybobtapp.wordpress.com/2017/05/11/fiscal-conservatism-is-the-answer-to-oklahoma-budget-woes/

As President Ronald Reagan said: “The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.”

Don’t Step Up to the gallows, call your State Legislators today!

 

THE CONSERVATIVE VIEW BY RUSSELL TURNER FLAMES OF OBSESSION

THE CONSERVATIVE VIEW
BY RUSSELL TURNER
FLAMES OF OBSESSION

I guess is it just human nature for all of us at one time or the other to become obsessed with an idea or philosophy. My obsession happens to be a belief in the principles upon which our great country was founded. America was founded as a place where people take responsibility for themselves. But this now seems to be an outdated, minority view. The Land of the Free is truly becoming the Land of Getting Free Stuff.

As I watch the antics in the reconvening of the Oklahoma state legislature, there are countless people flocking to OKC demanding that the funding be increased for their personal gravy train. In a poll conducted last December by NBC News / Wall Street Journal, a record 57% of Americans responded that they want MORE government in their lives, and that the government should be doing more to solve people’s problems. In 1995 that question was first asked, and at that time the number of people wanting more government was about half of what it is today. In my opinion the most alarming result of the poll was the number of people who wanted less government involvement in their lives, only 39% of the respondents believed that private interests and individuals should be more involved instead of the government.

This idea of the government doing more in our lives has brought our state and our federal government to the brink of destruction. I have said it in many of my previous columns, the US federal government already spends almost all of its tax revenue on mandatory entitlements like Social Security, and interest on the debt. They could literally cut nearly everything we think of as government– national parks, Homeland Security, even the IRS– and still not make a dent in paying down the national debt. To fund all of the programs we hear a constant call to tax someone else such as the rich or huge corporations. It might surprise many people to know over many decades the government’s share of the GDP of our economy stays very close to 17%. While the actual dollar amount of tax revenue goes up every year due to inflation and economic expansion, the government’s slice of the total economic pie is 17%. From World War 2 through the Reagan presidency that number has remained constant. Whether we want to admit it or not we Americans are being played. Too many socialist politicians on each side of the aisle only want to get re-elected; they create divisions in our society by catering to the emotion of envy. Instead of looking at the facts, they cannot understand the principle of 17% and they try to get a bigger percentage. The only true solution would be to focus on making the pie bigger.

Instead of promoting a culture of cradle to grave care from our government we should be embracing the principles that our nation was founded upon. I often see kids that have their hands out demanding a free university education; it is time that we as a society start asking some hard questions. How many books have these kids read in the last 6 months? How many free online courses have they enrolled in? If we are to survive as a great nation we must stop fanning the flames of obsession for something free. Instead of whining on social media about how no one is giving you anything for free, we need to remember that America is a place where people take responsibility for themselves.

HB 1037xx Update: bill changed to deduction split, still raises taxes

By Muskogee Politico:

Yesterday, the House JCAB met and passed several “revenue measures” (i.e. tax increases) related to the Fallin/Step Up Oklahoma plan. Among these was HB1037XX, which I wrote about in Fallin/Step Up income tax hike is higher than we’re being told.

HB1037XX was originally a major income tax hike for lower- and middle-income families in particular. The good news is that that language was stripped from the bill in committee yesterday – a small, temporary victory for taxpayers. However, the language was replaced with changes to the standard deduction that will still mean a triple-digit tax hike on single individuals making over $25,000 or married couples making over $50,000.

HB1037XX leaves the standard deduction in place for single individuals who make less than $25,000, for married couples filing jointly who make under $50,000, and for head-of-household filers who make less than $37,500.

If you make above those figures, the standard deduction will be changed to the following levels:

Single-filer: from $6,350 down to $5,250 (minus $1,100)
Head of household filer: from $9,350 down to $7,700 (minus $1,650)
Married filing jointly: from $12,700 down to $10,500 (minus $2,200)
Current bill language does not change the income tax brackets or remove the personal exemption like the previous language did. It does, however, unnecessarily render our income tax even more complicated that it currently is, in addition to raising taxes.

Back to three scenarios I presented in the previous post on HHB1037XX:
Married couple filing jointly, 2 kids, standard deduction, earning $40k: $0 more in taxes
Married couple filing jointly, 2 kids, standard deduction, earning $60k: $110 more in taxes
Married couple filing jointly, 2 kids, standard deduction, earning $80k: $110 more in taxes
Single-filers who make over $25k would pay an additional $55 in income taxes. HOH-filers over $37,500 would pay $82.50 more, and married-filing-jointly over $50,000 would pay $110 more.

The fiscal analysis for this current language estimates it would raise $41M in income taxes for FY2019.

I’ll post more on the other tax hikes passed by the House JCAB later.

See original post with links here: http://www.muskogeepolitico.com/2018/02/hb1037xx-update-bill-changed-to.html

Muskogee Politico: Taxpayer Alert

By Muskogee Politico

 

***TAXPAYER ALERT***

HB1037XX, the Step Up/Fallin income tax hike: http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/cf_pdf/2017-18%20int/HB/HB1037xx%20int.pdf

Running the figures IN THE BILL, a married couple filing jointly, with two children, earning $60k per year and taking the standard deduction would pay **$187.65** in extra income taxes.

Step Up Oklahoma says they would pay “$85 to $97” more, but that is absolutely NOT the case in the actual bill language.

2017 State Income Tax under this scenario is $1810
Under the Fallin/Step Up bill, they would owe $1997.65 — an increase of $187.65IMG_2318.JPG

Dan Fisher: Only GOP Candidate Not Receiving Contributions From Step Up

IMG_2310.JPGBy Dan Fisher

I am the only gubernatorial candidate who hasn’t received financial contributions from “Step Up Oklahoma.”

Of course the establishment guys running against me say they oppose tax hikes but, after accepting $50,000 from the wannabe oligarchs running “Step Up Oklahoma – Todd Lamb’s “opposition” has dwindled. Now he outright favors expanding sales tax collections by potentially billions. Mick Cornett, who says raising taxes is not his first instinct, has accepted over $30,000 from the “Step Up” cabal and it now appears that his “instincts” have change.

Funny how large campaign donations can help ‘clarify’ a candidate’s positions.

The reason that I am the only gubernatorial candidate not receiving financial support from “Step Up Oklahoma” supporters is because they know that I cannot be bought.

#Fisher2018

PS: For the record I think Mick’s instincts always have been and always will be to raise and create new taxes. Cornett’s entire political career has been built around raising taxes.

The Band Is Back Together

IMG_1181By 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: Guardian.ok.gov

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.

Sunday Sermon: Abort Abortion

Full story on Sooner Politics By Randy Brogdon:

I started a Facebook conversation by asking, if what you believed to be true was actually false, would you want to know the truth? Then I ended by asking what was more important, legislative intervention to fix political corruption or stop the murder of unborn babies.
The answers were as varied as I suspected they would be. But the Truth spoken by God Himself leaves no doubt about the correct answer. It’s B. Stop the murder!
Right now, I’m only speaking to God-fearing Christians who truly want to know the truth and honor God by living their life holy and acceptable to Him. If that’s you, then please prayerfully consider the following truths I’m about to share.
Proverbs 24:11 Rescue those being led away to death…(abortion)
Matthew 22:37 Love God with all your heart…love your neighbor as yourself (the unborn are our neighbors)
Matthew 23:23 Woe to you hypocrites, teachers of the law who ignore the most important matters of justice, mercy, and faithfulness (pastors, Christian and Pro-life leaders and policy makers)
James 4:17 Anyone who knows right and doesn’t do it, sins…  Rest of the story here: http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/sunday-sermon-abort-abortionIMG_2298.JPG