UPDATED with legislators opposed to the tax increase at the bottom of the post!
On the heels of her very exciting announcement that she had badgered Amazon.com into collecting sales tax from Oklahomans who buy from sellers using the platform, Governor Mary Fallin ended her 2017 State Of The State address, to a chorus of weeping, wailing and gnashing teeth from actual CONSERVATIVE Republicans in the audience.
By the time she had finished her speech, she had identified so many new taxes that Gary Richardson, an Oklahoma attorney who has formed an exploratory committee to run for Governor in 2018, put together this video including ALL of them to make that point. The narrator has to talk VERY FAST to get all of them covered in 2 minutes and 37 seconds! Watch, it will make you laugh, but then have a bucket nearby for when you quit laughing and begin to feel queasy about the prospect of having Oklahomans forced to subscribe to them all by law.
If that video weren't enough, Americans For Prosperity have put out their own video (below) embedded on a page on their website with a form to fill out and send to your state legislators telling them to oppose the tax increases:
In the same vein, Americans for Tax Reform (AFR) has written a letter to Oklahoma legislators asking them to oppose these tax increases under the - hopefully obvious - notion they would hurt Oklahoma working families and the overall economy.
Clearly, few appear to be excited about our Governor's plan, but why?
Well, let's look at some Oklahoma Tax Commission data from their annual reports. Now, what I'm going to post here is generalized data - I'm an education writer, not an economics major - but I believe it to be very relevant. I went to the OTC and looked at their annual report for 1998-1999 (the oldest ones listed) and then 2003-2004 (because Republicans took over the Oklahoma House in 2004) and from last year 2015-2016 when Republicans had been in full control of the House and the Senate for some time.
Here's what I found. When I added up the number of tax collection categories - those categories for which the OTC taxes Oklahomans - and the number of apportionments - the organizations and government agencies which are recipients of Oklahoma tax dollars, the results were quite interesting.
Note that in 1989-1999 there were 69 apportionment categories funded from 78 categories of tax collections. In 2003-2004, the number of BOTH apportionments and tax categories increased. Interestingly, in 2015-2016, the number of tax collection categories decreased yet the number of apportionments increased by 69!
After reviewing some of these apportionment categories I was AGHAST! THIS is what is done by 'CONSERVATIVE' Republicans? Please, please go to the annual reports here and look at some of these for yourself.
Can anyone tell my why we're giving money to an Ag-N-Class Fund, or the Belle Maxine Hilliard Breast & Cervical Cancer Fund (to the tune of almost one MILLION dollars), or Crossings Christian School, or the Boy Scouts, or Deer Creek Foundation, or Fireman's Museum and Building Memorial Fund, or Historical Greenwood Dist. Music Festival Fund - what in the world do any of these have to do with maintaining the infrastructure of the state of OKLAHOMA - and I just stopped at 'H'? Why are there NINE separate appropriations for education in this state? To keep things confusing? But wait, I'm sure there's some reason why we're funding NASCAR Racing Plates with tax dollars...
I also looked at the amount of money of money collected via taxes and the amount of money spent via apportionment. Wow...if the wheel falls off the bus one day, the bus will have to get towed back to the barn to sit FOR A WHOLE YEAR.
I hope you're getting the idea here, REPUBLICANS ARE NOT CONSERVATIVE if 'Conservative' means 'conserving' tax dollars in taxpayer pockets and decreasing the scope of government.
It only makes the whole situation worse when you know that Governor Mary Fallin has - IN THE PAST - been quoted as saying things like, "America has too much government, too much regulation, too many taxes, and is not frugal."
In addition, Governor Fallin actually signed the AFR Pledge not to increase taxes.
You'd think she might learn a lesson from the People's Republic of California where they continue to tax businesses right out of their state. Ask Nestle, they're the latest to leave.
I guess what we're really being taught here is that words don't matter, political platforms don't matter and taxpayers are just the buffet line from which the legislature feeds. Belly up boys!
Let's say a great big THANK YOU to these legislators who have said they will stand with the people of Oklahoma and not our Governor when it comes to tax increases:
Citing their fundamental disagreements with Gov. Fallin's proposed tax hike, the following conservative legislators pledged to do what they can to stop this tax increase from becoming law:
State Rep. John Bennett (R-Sallisaw)
State Rep. David Brumbaugh (R-Broken Arrow)
State Rep. Kevin Calvey (R-Oklahoma City)
State Rep. Bobby Cleveland (R-Slaughterville)
State Rep. George Faught (R-Muskogee)
State Rep. Kevin McDugle (R-Broken Arrow)
State Rep. Lewis Moore (R-Edmond)
State Rep. Mike Ritze (R-Broken Arrow)
State Rep. Chuck Strohm (R-Jenks)
NEW: State Rep. Rande Worthen (R-Lawton)
NEW: State Rep. Dustin Roberts (R-Durant)
NEW: State Rep. Scott McEachin (R-Tulsa)
NEW: State Rep. John Enns (R-Enid)
NEW: State Rep. Dale Derby (R- Owasso)
NEW: State Rep. Casey Murdock (R-Felt)
NEW: State Rep. Scooter Park (R-Devol)
NEW: State Rep. Jeff Coody (R-Grandfield)
State Sen. Mark Allen (R-Spiro)
State Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow)
State Sen. James Leewright (R-Bristow)
State Sen. Marty Quinn (R-Claremore)
State Sen. Anthony Sykes (R-Moore)
NEW: State Sen. Micheal Bergstrom (R-Adair)
NEW: State Sen. Julie Daniels (R-Bartlesville)
NEW: State Sen. Bill Brown (R-Broken Arrow)
NEW: State Sen. Ralph Shortey (R-Oklahoma City)
NEW: State Sen. Joseph Silk (R-Broken Bow)