Monday, June 26, 2017

Tobacco Tax Faces Court Battle



Tobacco Company Files Lawsuit
Against Illegal Cigarette "Fee"

  SB 845 was one of the many illegally passed bills that raised revenue, AKA taxes, without a supermajority of the legislature and without a vote of the people and also passed in the last five days of the session. Not only that, the bill originated in the Senate and all revenue bills MUST originate as House bills. The House controls the purse strings so that alone is enough to stop the bill in court.

  The $1.50 "fee" was earlier rejected as a tax in the House so the Senate picked up the same bill and passed it and sent it to the House after re labeling it as a "fee" which legally has been held to be a re couping of costs for a government function. A wide load permit fee is one example, or a fee for staying overnight in a state campground or park.

  Philipp Morris and RJ Reynolds tobacco companies weren't having any part of the illegally passed bill so they filed suit stating the obvious; the bill violated the state constitutional prohibition against passing revenue-raising measures in the final five days of a legislative session and without a super majority of lawmakers. The legislation was passed with the emergency clause so the bill goes into law in August and is expected to pump about 20 million per month into state coffers with most of the revenue going into the newly created Health Care Enhancement Fund which is supposed to be used to reduce cigarette use and reduce health care costs.

Feedback On 2017 House RINO Index


Feedback on the 20017 House Oklahoma RINO Index

  Only one House member wrote in questioning his score, a freshman who thought he was doing the right thing in supporting leadership after three bills that he voted against passed anyway. We are omitting his name as they were polite and probably learned his lesson:

"Thanks for tracking our votes. I think that is important. I haven't had a chance to look through them all yet, but I recall voting NO on SB845, HB2433, and HB2367.  Thanks again, and have a great week! "

  What happened was they indeed voted no on all three bills initially but once they passed they voted yes on the emergency clause. The emergency clause fast tracks the law, instead of waiting till November to become law it becomes law it becomes law earlier in the summer. Not only does the tax increases or new taxes get a head start on stealing from your bank account, it also short cuts the chance for citizens to file challenges against the law before they become law.

Now if a law is a bad idea and you voted against it, why would you vote to fast track the law?

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Richardson Leads Legal Battle To Stop Unconstitutional Taxes


A Governor For the People

  Last Thursday we saw candidate Gary Richardson hold a press conference announcing his plan to file a lawsuit in the Oklahoma Supreme Court challenging House Bills 1449, 2348, and 2433. HB 1449 was the alternative fuel vehicle tax, HB 2348 froze deductions on income tax returns, and HB 2433 is the new sales tax on top of the "in lieu of" excise tax.

  This of course points out why we always choose the worst vote on legislation and it isn't always the last reading of the bill.

  Here is a link to the audio tape of the news conference or you can read the transcript below:


Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. I'm here today to talk about the recent "tax increases" that were passed by our legislators.
Our state constitution reads in Article 5, that "the people reserve to themselves the power to propose laws and amendments to the Constitution and to enact or reject the laws and amendments at the polls, independent of the legislature."

Konawa Tea Party Calls Legislators To Account




Konawa Tea Party
(4th) Tuesday June 27, 2017 7:00 - 9:00 PM
Kennedy Library - The Dougan Room
Konawa School, 701 W South Street

Invited Speakers: Rep. Josh Cockroft and St. Rep. Zack Taylor

Below is Josh Cockcroft's RINO Index.  Hopefully someone will ask him about his horrible voting record this session.  Zack Taylor came in late in the session and only had a handful of votes of which he got around 60% right.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Bad Bills Part 7: Grabbing Money Sooner


HB 2356 is a bill that moves forward the due date for franchise tax payments, moving it forward two months. That effectively increases cash flow for the state by taking the tax money before it was originally due.
Here is a bill that was chosen for scoring the RINO Index,
& why this bill is bad for the average Oklahoman.

This is just not good public policy. It is a budget trick, the income remains the same, they are just collecting it sooner. It is a one time source of quick cash to get past the budget year end. Rather than trim this much money out of the budget by closing useless state agencies or welfare programs they kick the problem down the road for the next legislature to deal with.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Bad Bills Part 6: Oil Welfare

HB 2429 is another gross production tax decrease that allows another four years of reduced taxes from oil and gas wells.
Here is a bill that was chosen for scoring the RINO Index,
& why this bill is bad for the average Oklahoman.

Even though it reduces the amount of tax the state gets the measure was estimated to bring in an additional $95 million dollars. However, the language in that estimate was extremely sparse, as if they were reluctant to discuss the matter and the less said the less to hang them with later. In the end it was an extension of the huge gross production tax decreases passed by Democrats years ago and kept in place by the Republicans thanks to profuse campaign donations. Oklahoma is unique among the surrounding states as we have a gross production rate that is 3.5 times cheaper, money that used to go toward education and other government expenses and programs.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Bad Bills: Part 5: Making Crime Easier

HB 2281 is a soft on crime bill that reduces the penalty for theft, burglary, embezzlement, hot checks, almost every kind of property crime from a felony to a misdemeanor. This is going down from five years in prison to a maximum one year in a county jail.
Here is a bill that was chosen for scoring the RINO Index,
& why this bill is bad for the average Oklahoman.

Being soft on crime isn't good on criminals or the general public. Leniency just encourages the criminals to ply their trade, much of which is fueled by the need for drug money to support their habit. Criminals balance the time in prison against the potential gain of the crime, they don't hire lawyers or bondsmen, they make a plea deal knowing they will probably get a suspended sentence, won't be forced to pay any fees if they don't get a regular job, and they know they can commit ten to fifteen years of crime before the judge finally puts them in prison. The worst thing you can do is to lessen penalties. For the rest of us we deal with kicked in doors, ransacked homes, and higher insurance rates.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Bad Bills Part 4: Tourism Subsidies

HB 2131 is a new tax credit scheme that gives away 10% of sales tax collected for companies with under one million dollars of new investment in a tourist destination, 25% for those companies with over a million dollars new investment, with the annual limit set at $15 million dollars per year drained out of the state treasury.
Here is a bill that was chosen for scoring the RINO Index,
& why this bill is bad for the average Oklahoman.

And this is for investment that is going to be made anyway. The wealthy hire lawyers and lobbyists to pass their special legislation by greasing the palms of the politicians which corrupts the entire legislative process. Meanwhile tax revenue is drained away from the state, causing politicians to raise taxes and fees on the rest of us.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Feedback On RINO Index




2007 Oklahoma RINO Index Senate Version Feedback


  Last week we received several emails from House legislators concerning the scoring for the 2017 Oklahoma RINO Index which was unexpected as the Index had yet to be published for the House. It turned out that one of the links in one of our articles contained a list of votes that contained one error, from another group, so it was heartening to see that some of the legislators were paying attention even to the links in our articles. As it wasn't our doing we made sure to respond but also contacted the organization responsible, and they promptly fixed the error.

  The Senate RINO Index also upset a few "butt hurt" RINO supporters, upset that their "guy" was exposed as a liberal or tax and spend Republican. Another was upset that there weren't any 2nd Amendment bill listed.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

House RINO Index: 2017


2017 Oklahoma RINO Index House Version

  This year's House version of the 2017 Oklahoma RINO Index was drawn from the same list of 28 bills that the Senate Index was drawn from, with one exception, one of the log rolled tax increases was added before the list was boiled down to twenty bills.

  One legislator got all 29 votes right, Rep. Jason Murphey, next was Rep Tommy Hardin at three bad votes and two missed votes (half point each) and Rep. Mike Ritze at two bad votes and four missed votes, then Rep. Tom Gann at five bad votes and Rep Chuck Strohm with five bad votes and two missed votes.

  You can see last week's newsletter with the Senate RINO Index for a list of the bills and why they were bad for the majority of Oklahomans. Here are the bills that some of the top ten legislators voted wrong on.

Senate RINO Index Updated


Correction on Last Week's Senate RINO Index

  Stuff happens, 48 Senators and 28 bills that needed votes tallied, 1344 votes in all in the 2017 Oklahoma RINO Index for the State Senate. And one vote has been reported as wrong, Senator Nathan Dahm's vote on SB 120, the aerospace tax credit/corporate welfare bill. That is a 99.995 % error rating, probably better than we thought possible.

  Still Dahm's score was lowered by five points and correcting the vote restored him to his 100 score. In our defense Dahm had voted poorly on some of the bills that were left out of the Index and had there been just one wrong vote we certainly would have looked at it to triple check. Still this is a fine voting record in a year where leadership throughout the state was demanding more and more tax increases.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Bad Bills Part 3: The REAL Capitulation

HB 1845 is the REAL ID bill that forces Oklahoma into the federal identification card system.


The program is a privacy nightmare and unneeded. Worse, those promoting the scheme have long lied about the consequences of not having Oklahoma drivers licenses REAL ID compliant, claiming that you couldn't get on an airplane which is not true.
Here is a bill that was chosen for scoring the RINO Index,
& why this bill is bad for the average Oklahoman.
It is also a fee increase, adding $5.00 to the license fee, like the $5.00 they added to the tags last year, with the money siphoned off into Public Safety and two dollars to the tag agents. Even worse, this bill guts the state prohibition on REAL ID passed about eight to ten years ago. There is a clause stating that the state won't share biometric data of its citizen but there is an out for data sharing required by the feds.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Bad Bills Part 2: A Gotcha Tax After The Sale

HB 1449 creates a new tax on electric and hybrid vehicles. Electric vehicles will have $100.00 tacked on to the annual vehicle registration fee and hybrid vehicles will have $30.00 added the registration fee.
Here is a bill that was chosen for scoring the RINO Index,
& why this bill is bad for the average Oklahoman.

All vehicles should be paying something toward road costs but at the same time they give out incentives to buy these vehicles so one hand gives, the other hand takes away. If the incentive is bad, eliminate it. At this time there simply isn't that many of these vehicles to make enough difference to pay for the cost of the legislation.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Bad Bills Part 1: Department Of Harassment

HB 1427 allows the Oklahoma Tax Commission to create a new department and hire outside auditors to attempt to collect out of state sales tax payments. This appears to be an attempt to harass out of state vendors with Oklahoma customers with the idea of forcing these out of state vendors to collect sales tax or use tax.
Here is a bill that was chosen for scoring the RINO Index,
& why this bill is bad for the average Oklahoman.
If the out of state vendors comply with the auditors and hand over a list of shipments into Oklahoma that would cost Oklahoma companies billions of dollars in new taxes.
Not only is this illegal as federal law prohibits out of state taxation for products shipped into a state, it encourages the growth of government instead of the trimming back to core government functions. Not only that, but this law adds employees and expenses to the state budget.

Monday, June 12, 2017

2017 Senate RINO Index

2017 RINO IndexSenate List


  The 2017 RINO Index is really simple this year, a No vote is good, a yes vote is bad. That is because we focus on what legislators do wrong, not what they should be doing which is representing their constituents and voting on the good legislation. The major impetus this year was raising taxes, raising fees, and preserving special interest tax credits so that all of the legislation that was bad needed a No vote.  Each vote is worth five points, an E or Excused is a negative 2.5 points for missing the vote.
  Of the 28 bills that made our decision list we had one senator that voted right every time, Senator Breechen. We threw out six bills to weed the list down to an even twenty bills, choosing bills that some of the good guys had other opinions on. That is a challenge because some of them were bad bills but the larger the list the more a bad vote is diluted. Originally we used ten bills but that leaves a lot of bad bills behind. Then there were two bills out of the batch that the Senate didn't vote on.

  The higher the index number the more conservative the legislator. Anything below 70% is considered a RINO, Republican In Name Only.

Tulsa Republican Mens Club: June Meeting


Tulsa County Govt. Elects New Leaders

Come join us this month at:

  • Oklahoma Joes (6175 E 61st St, Tulsa, OK), from 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. for another great meeting!

  Lunch is only $13, drink, tax, and tip (pay when you check in at our table in banquet room)  Membership is $20, Ladies $10, open to the public.  For a $25 membership you also get a shirt or hat!
To RSVP call Billie at 918-638-9977 or billiej86@cox.net.
(you can now pay with a credit or debit card)
...ask about being a sponsor!


Keep on Keep'n on, growing that is...bring a friend and lets fill the room again! 


Our guests this month is Tulsa County Court Clerk Don Newberry
and Tulsa County Clerk Michael Willis!

Oklahoma Joe's - Tulsa
6175 E 61st St
Tulsa, OK, OK 74136
RSVP:  Billie Bell 918-638-9977 or billiej86@cox.net

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Considerations For The 2017 RINO Index

Legislation Being Considered for the 2017 RINO Index
Oh we were told that the budget would be cut and tax credits trimmed down to size yet what happened is new tax credit schemes and ultra low gross production taxes were extended and expanded in scope. While another billion dollars in new taxes or fees were added. Below is a list of bills that we are considering for the 2017 Oklahoma RINO Index.

HB 1427 allows the Oklahoma Tax Commission to create a new department and hire outside auditors to attempt to collect out of state sales tax payments. This appears to be an attempt to harass out of state vendors with Oklahoma customers with the idea of forcing these out of state vendors to collect sales tax or use tax. If the out of state vendors comply with the auditors and hand over a list of shipments into Oklahoma that would cost Oklahoma companies billions of dollars in new taxes.