..and again the skies turned black with the sight of chickens coming home to roost.
This year's voting index is out in record time but it was a record breaking session and the opponents of the syphilitic bastards that voted to raise taxes need the ammunition in the primary races. By the end of the day on May 4th legislators had submitted their lists and within hours we had the list boiled down to nineteen crucial votes and two of our full time staffers quickly cranked out the voting records overnight and earned some serious overtime pay.
Remember that STP doesn't give politician's credit for doing the right thing, that is their job to do the right thing. We believe that a list of bad votes makes far more sense than a list of good votes. As an example, the constitutional carry bill isn't on the index. Chances are good that Mary Fallin will veto the bill, and if she does it was arranged in advance to pull the heat off the House and Senate. Indexes that use the bill automatically give the incumbents five to ten points for something that they should be done and for something that might well turn out to be a charade.
Then there is an argument that legislators that represent heavily Democrat dominated districts like George Faught of Muskogee or John Bennett of Sequoyah County might be given some slack for having a bit lower scores simply out of survival mode. That might account for ten to twenty points but what excuse do the true RINOs like Chris Kannaday, Jon Echols, or Kevin McDugle have who sit in heavily Republican populated areas?
In the end, the Index is the standard of the Republican Party and will not be compromised. As long as some legislators do well there is no excuse for the majority not to do well.
Each vote is worth a bit over 5 points and a missed vote (blue colored text E) is worth 2.5 points. Allowing credit for missed votes is a compromise for those that miss votes for family emergencies but it allows those with many missed votes to profit so if you see a legislator with a lot of missed votes he needs chastised.
We are making one big change this year. The name will change from the Oklahoma RINO Index to the Oklahoma Platform Index to better represent the connection to the GOP Party Platform which in itself is supported by a lot of the Democrat voters in Oklahoma.
Further down, below this chart; you'll be able to read a summary of each scored bill.
Below is the House Platform Index, the Senate will be out next Sunday.
Here are the bills on this year's Oklahoma Platform Index.
Here are the bills on this year's Oklahoma Platform Index.
HB 1010 xx Teacher tax, hikes on fuel, cigarettes and other tobacco products, and a GPT increase (Gross Production Tax) N is conservative, Y is liberal. This bill was one of the worst tax increases due to the extortion that was involved and it was the single largest tax increase in state history.
Had the CLO money been used as designed by the federal government and the state constitution there would have been 100 million dollars a year sent to education every year since Fallin came into office. Had audits been conducted to find the waste and inefficiencies to prove that more money was needed perhaps these tax hikes would have been needed. Had the simple bill that would have mandated Oklahoma superintendents get their administrative costs down to the national average there would have been twice as much money available for teacher raises without raising taxes. Worse, most of the money is diverted in the second year, leaving the raises unfunded, allowing the legislators to crank up another half billion in new taxes next year.
HB 1011xx deductions cap at $17.000 N is conservative, Y is liberal. Another of the teacher tax increases, a stripping away of tax deductions after the Trump tax bill increased working class and middle class deductions. All of the reasons above are also valid plus the simple fact of going in the face of the popularly elected President who understands that taxes that are too high do not work.
HB 1019xx Out of state sales tax collection N is conservative, Y is liberal. Another teacher tax and an unconstitutional one. Our federal constitution doesn't allow states to tax interstate commerce and the courts have long ruled that a nexis, a physical location, must be present in a state if sales tax is collected. This is the so called Amazon tax for this year, an attempt to force associated independent advertisers on Amazon to collect and remit Oklahoma sales tax. Amazon might well have a physical location in the state and might need to comply with the law on sales tax but these non Amazon shipped products are stored in the seller's warehouses and thus there is no Oklahoma connection. This law will be struck down if challenged. House votes here @ 4/04/2018 6:59 pm Senate votes here @ 4/06/2018 11:44 am
HB 1023xx Teacher pay raise N is conservative, Y is liberal. The cause of these teacher raise taxes. Extortion was used, the kids and parents were used, and the strike went on even after the huge tax increases and raises were passed into law. The teacher unions are really using the situation to press for more Democrats being elected. Legislators that angered their own Republican base by voting for these massive taxes then got harassed and threatened at the Capitol for two weeks. Extortion has no place in politics, especially from state employees supported with tax dollars.
HB 1024 xx State worker pay increase N is conservative, Y is liberal. The state workers do need raises, we agree on that much. But again the extortion used was beyond the pale. And many state workers like the ones in Preston Doerlinger's old empire are already raking in huge salaries. And again the taxes for these raises were already diverted for the second year before the teacher strike even fizzled out. If the wages are too low, there will be a shortage of sate workers and that isn't the case. Wages do need looked at but it needs to be in a good budget year and inefficiencies and waste have to be trimmed out first after the audits are completed by outside auditors. Then we will support raises.
HB 1026Xx School support staff pay increase N is conservative, Y is liberal. Ditto, no funding for the second year, not the state's responsibility to give raises to employees of the local school systems. Compared to teachers these support staff earn very little but there are also many that are making nearly six figures. Plus the amount of non teachers had risen three times the ratio of student increase and too much money is being wasted on stupid things like liberal counselors and advisers that have no place indoctrinating our kids.
HB 2756 CNG tax credit extension N is conservative, Y is liberal. Once this kind of incentive might have made sense but no more. These tax credits are simply corporate welfare. CNG is a fraction of gasoline price and that alone is incentive enough for car owners to convert or purchase CNG vehicles.
HB 2950 Prohibits sale of 4 gauge wire N is conservative, Y is liberal. Like the air conditioner coils and condensers that were outlawed for scrap sales in the past, this is simply a private industry wanting to outlaw the sale of large wire to metal recycling companies Yes there are thieves, my own building was hit a few years back and $50.00 worth of copper was stolen along with a dozen aluminum services ripped out too before the idiots realized it wasn't copper. Around $5000 in damage in all. But that doesn't mean the solution is to penalize honest men and put the large wire scrap into the hands of the electricians who are the only ones now that can dispose of the wire. Electrician makes more money off the job, life gets more complicated, and a lot of wire will now wind up in landfills to join the aluminum and copper condensers and coils that are now being dumped into landfills.
HB 3042 Talihina Veterans Center Bonds N is conservative, Y is liberal. For the Veterans, right? No, a perfectly good Center will be abandoned so that millions of dollars in bonds can be sold and a new Veterans Center be constructed in another House and Senate district. Yes, there had been some abuses by staff at the old center, some real, some manufactured to cause outrage and create more excuses for selling millions in new bonds. Now each construction dollar spent will require two dollars or more to be repaid over the life of the bonds. For a building that isn't needed.
HB 3369 anti 2nd Amendment bill, crossbow N is conservative, Y is liberal. It is sad that a teenager shot another teenager but that is no reason to restrict responsible teenager's constitutional rights and clutter up the law books with another useless and restrictive law. Murder is already illegal, so is manslaughter. Not allowing crossbows to be sold to teenagers or not allowing parents to purchase them for the teens isn't going to bring back a life that was lost nor is it going to prevent kids from having access to crossbows. What it is is nothing more than ratcheting down on the 2nd Amendment. Next we won't be able to have crossbows or guns in a home where teens live.
HB 3375 dice and roulette gambling extension N is conservative, Y is liberal. Gambling is good for whoever owns the casinos, not good for society at large. This is corporate welfare given to the Indian tribes and not allowed to other citizens. And the state gets a tiny fraction of the winnings while it deals with the embezzlement and crime caused by the gambling addicted. Families have less money for raising kids or retirement or building a business. Should gambling be illegal? Perhaps not, but we shouldn't be making money off it and encouraging other government entities like the tribes to strip more cash away from society.
HB 3407 Mandates OKIE call before digging on property N is conservative, Y is liberal. Whose land is it anyway? It makes sense to encourage landowners and contractors to call OKIE to flag existing infrastructure underground before digging but most landowners are going to know if there is anything there. Digging a pond out in the back 40 is no risk to utilities. Those that refuse to check are already responsible for any damage so why increase the nanny state?
HB 3439 DNA collection misdemeanors N is conservative, Y is liberal. Abhorrent is the best description for this ratcheting up of the police state. Serious crimes like felonies, okay, that is a compromise, but once your DNA is in the hands of the state and law enforcement agencies it can be used to frame people, even solve old cases like the old murder case in the news where the mass murderer cop in San Francisco was caught when a relative sent in some DNA to a private DNA company. That was a good outcome, no one will deny that, but how many false accusations and frame jobs can be done once enough of society has their DNA on file? An unscrupulous prosecutor or cop can troll someone's trash can to find enough DNA to plant or to slip into the evidence chain.
HJR 1029 ethics commission 2 year lobbyist ban N is conservative, Y is liberal. Legislators ought to be barred from using their influence and inside knowledge to lobby for far more than two years after they leave public office. There is a conveyor belt between corporate welfare seekers and legislative office. Worse, the legislators write and push legislation to pay for their future job while they are still on office. Many believe that the reason that Gary Jones is running for Governor is to carry water for the tall building crowd, strip enough votes away from conservative candidates like Gary Richardson and one of the three RINO candidates will win (Cornett, Lamb, and Stitt). This would have put the law before a vote of the people so they could decide.
SB 888 end wind tax credits Y is conservative, N is liberal. Note that this is the only Yes vote that is good on the index. This bill would have made wind tax credits non refundable if the company didn't have enough tax burden to use up the tax credits. One would understand the use of tax credits if the public was sure that the recipient was pumping other tax dollars into the state. Kind of like the Earned Income tax credits that are no non refundable, if you aren't paying taxes in you don't get the credits to reduce your tax bill. Common sense. But the corporate welfare crowd wants to sell these credits, indeed the entire wind industry wouldn't be profitable unless there wasn't hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits to sell to generate more profit. As it is, a company can just walk up to the State Treasurer's office and present a bill for a hundred million dollars and it has to be paid even if no one saw it coming and it wasn't budgeted that year.
SB 923 expansion of the Quality Jobs Program N is conservative, Y is liberal. A long time corporate welfare tax credit that does little to generate new jobs. Companies are going to locate where labor is available, where cheap land and buildings are to be had, not because they get a 5% tax credit on their payroll costs. States try to outbid each other and companies wind up chasing tax credits only to leave the state once the tax credits dry up.
SB 1252 Events incentive act N is conservative, Y is liberal. Another corporate welfare scheme that does nothing to bring events to the state. Promoters go where the customers or fans of the event are. We had plenty of shows, games, and events before this bill was passed and all it does is drain tax coffers.
SB 1287 Spreading rumors bill N is conservative, Y is liberal. An ?anti bullying bill”. Really? It is now illegal to spread rumors? Do we not have slander laws already? Does a bit of bullying in school ruin a child for life or does it sometimes teach valuable lessons? And people wonder why we are producing a snowflake generation or a series of snowflake generations...
SB 1584 Conservation bond debt N is conservative, Y is liberal. Bonds are always bad business because the money is paid back at high interest while the bond holders borrow cheap commercial money to invest in the bonds and the bond selling companies rake in huge commissions. Many times the bonds are not available to the working class or middle class but reserved for favorite customers. If the state needs a building it can afford to save up and pay cash. The Oklahoma Constitution says “No state debt” and that was the case until the late eighties when the Supreme Court traded a favorable bond ruling in exchange for millions of dollars put into their pension plan.
SB 1590 bond issue prisons N is conservative, Y is liberal. Same as above. Yes we need prisons but we shouldn't be financing in this manner. The state can borrow money just as easily as the investors but the shell game needs continued so that we can pretend the bond debt isn't debt.