Monday, June 26, 2017

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?

  The answer is that part of the indoctrination of incoming legislators tells them that they can vote their conscience on a bill but then have to submit to leadership and support the emergency clause vote. And for a bill that is actually legal or constitutional it might be okay for a legislator to preserve a bit of influence with leadership...for a bill that does nothing or isn't a deal killer. But supporting the emergency clause for bills that are likely to be challenged is not something that a good legislator will do.

  SB 845 is the no smoking "fee" so there was debate stating that the bill was unconstitutional on several levels and sure to be challenged. Indeed it is being challenged by the tobacco industry.

  HB 2433 is the new sales tax on cars, on top of the "in lieu of " excise tax that has long been charged on car sales. That bill is being challenged by gubernatorial candidate Gary Richardson as it is also unconstitutional and therefore illegal on several points.

  HB 2367 is the sales tax complacence claw back. The state has always given one percent of the sales tax back to the sales tax permit holder in exchange for their work and expense of collecting the tax. On a company with a $50,000.00 sales month you are looking at $4187.50 in sales tax so the one percent of that is $41.87, not a lot in exchange for all the bookkeeping tracking the sales and filling out the monthly tax form. However..... as a lot of modern commerce is done via debit and credit cards there can be as much as 3% in credit card fees. That $4187.50 is going to cost the permit holder about $125.62 in credit card fees so even with the $41.87 in incentive to collect the sales tax the business loses a lot of money paying the credit card fees on the sales tax collected. While there might be an excuse to limit this cost claw back for the huge companies like Walmart or Amazon it is a hidden tax on businesses large and small.

  Freshmen legislators always have to learn the hard way. Leadership grabs hold of them immediately and "warns" them not to fall into the mistake of linking up or listening too the conservative legislators. If they do try to represent their districts and vote conservatively there are many ways of punishing the legislators, office space downgrades, pulling support like legislative assistants or mailing costs, or just threatening to kill their bills. Eventually the freshmen wise up and realize that with their class working together they can have the largest impact on the Speaker race or Pro Tem race. Usually this comes about after the first legislative session, the only recent case where they learned earlier was 2011 when a dozen freshmen legislators turned on Fallin and signed a press release saying they no longer supported Obama Care Health Insurance Exchange. What most people don't know is that these same freshmen legislators supported the early House votes for the Insurance Exchange until the Sooner Tea Party robo called their districts till they were bleeding from their you know whats. The calls started in early February and ended for these legislators after they did the right thing.

  Eventually freshmen learn the basic fact that leadership doesn't represent the people of Oklahoma; they represent the lobbyists and campaign donors that have paid them well.