I May Have to Start Voting Democrat

‘Do you prefer tax-and-spend liberals, tax-and-spend conservatives, or tax-and-spend moderates?’

What’s the point in voting for Republicans to run the Oklahoma government? If you’d told me a few years ago that the GOP controlled legislature would have a ‘meh’ attitude about out-of-control spending in our state agencies, I would have said you were crazy. If you’d told me a few years ago that our Republican governor would be calling for massive tax increases, I would have said you were crazy. If you’d told me a few years ago that the GOP controlled legislature would be scheming to pass tax increases at the beginning of the legislative session, I would have said you were crazy.

But here we are, on opening day of the 2018 legislative session, and the Republicans are planning to bring a “quick vote” on tax increases. Of course they want a quick vote before their constituents get wind of what they’re up to and jam the capitol phone banks with phone calls to stop it.

Last May I wrote a post called Have I Traveled to […] → Keep reading

Left Not Blameless for ‘Botched’ Oklahoma Execution

There’s nothing like an execution to stoke the animosity in people. Those opposed to the death penalty spew their reasons why it should be abolished and those supporting it typically step down into the gutter with the opposition and argue why it should be continued. The ‘botched’ execution in Oklahoma last night has certainly set off a firestorm of opinions on both sides. Naturally, what happened to the murderer being executed is being pounced on by death penalty opponents as a reason why executions are cruel. Some are saying it is a violation of the Eighth Amendment restriction against cruel and unusual punishments. While that would possibly be a valid argument if what happened to Clayton Lockett was, in fact, the sentence as ordered by a court and intended to happen, it was not ordered or intended. To be fair, let’s look at what is being reported as happening.

News OK – The execution, which was supposed to start at 6, began at 6:23 p.m. The three-drug cocktail was then administered to Lockett, who had no last words. Lockett was […] → Keep reading

Brogdon Switching Campaign From Governor To Senate?

Roll Call is reporting that Randy Brogdon, former state senator, is considering switching his campaign to the special election for the Senate instead of continuing to challenge incumbent Governor Mary Fallin in the Republican primary.

Roll Call – “He has got a lot of people inside of Oklahoma, probably eight or nine out of 10, that are urging him to run for Senate, and he is listening very intently to those urges,” Brogdon senior adviser Louis Waller said when reached by CQ Roll Call.

Brogdon’s potential entrance comes just after Rep. Jim Bridenstine, a favorite among conservative outside groups, decided against a bid. Groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Madison Project had pushed for Bridenstine to run as a conservative alternative to Rep. James Lankford, who announced his bid for the seat earlier this month.

Brogdon, who lost to Fallin in the 2010 gubernatorial primary, has the kind of tea party profile that could garner support from those groups. If he runs, Brogdon would be the third major Republican in the race, along with state Speaker T.W. […] → Keep reading

Oklahoma Governor’s Race To Hinge On Storm Shelters?

If you live in Oklahoma, I hope you enjoy hearing about the school storm shelter issue because it’s shaping up to be the issue for the next year. Yesterday, State Rep. Joe Dorman (D-Rush Springs) launched an exploratory committee to begin raising funds and examine a possible run for Governor of Oklahoma next year. Dorman would be running against the popular incumbent, Mary Fallin. While announcing the committee Dorman said that education is going to be the top issue. “Visiting with teachers… about the conditions we’re seeing in schools, what we’ve seen Governor Fallin and Superintendent Janet Barresi do to education, I think that has to be one of our most critical issues we’ll look at.” For the past several months Dorman has been a strong advocate of an initiative petition that would allow the public to vote on issuing up to $500 million in bonds for the construction of storm shelters in Oklahoma schools. Franchise tax revenues would be used to pay for the bond and the Legislature would be able to appropriate additional funds if the franchise tax […] → Keep reading

Governor Fallin’s Misleading Tax Cut

I don’t agree with much at all of what the Oklahoma Policy Institute puts out, but their information about the recent tax cut legislation passed by the Oklahoma legislature and signed into law by Governor Fallin is right on the money. Opinions about policy can vary, but numbers don’t lie.

I’ve looked at the new tax rates in House Bill 2032 and I’ve run the numbers against the tax rates in this year’s form 511 – the Oklahoma individual income tax form. What the numbers tell me is that the things being said by Governor Fallin, Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon and others are highly misleading. Do you think you’re getting a tax cut? Unless you’re on the poverty level, you are, but let’s see how much.

Below is a chart from the OK Policy Institute’s post about the tax cut. It’s accurate. As you can see, if you make between $19,500 and $36,400 your tax cut is going to be a whopping $9. If you make between $36,400 and $58,100 your tax cut will be $30, which […] → Keep reading

Drones In My State? Yes, Please

Drones have been given a bad name. Mention the word drone and most people will automatically think of a Predator launching Hellfire missiles to obliterate a target. Drone use at this point is primarily military and their role in the killing of people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia has been extremely controversial in some circles. Some say the attacks are illegal assassinations and others say those killed are terrorists and are therefore legitimate targets.

Without delving into the merits or ethics of using drones to launch attacks, there are many other uses for drones that are being summarily dismissed by many people based on the belief that drones would violate privacy or be launching Hellfire missiles here in the United States.

Here in Oklahoma, Governor Fallin formed the Governor’s Unmanned Aerial Systems Council with a goal of lobbying for commercial drone test sites in Oklahoma and luring more military contractors to the state. Oklahoma’s Secretary of Science and Technology, Stephen McKeever, has said that Oklahoma is already home to around 15 companies servicing the UAV industry. Ben […] → Keep reading