Friday, January 17, 2014

Oklahoma Republican Against Using Bonds for Infrastructure

As I am sitting today asking myself what I should post, my email starts coming in with story after story and then the Oklahoma Policy email hits and I go through the roof.
The Tulsa World reports that Oklahoma's budget crunch colored the budget summit we hosted yesterday in Oklahoma City. AP notes that Governor Mary Fallin and House Speaker T.W. Shannon differ on state budget ideas
Had no idea what I was going to find at the link but I figured it would make me happy that I am no longer a GOP activists or call myself a conservative.  I am a full fledged Progressive today who believes in helping people who need a helping hand to live like the unemployed or those who need food stamps because they work and cannot afford food for their family or are elderly who get so little from social security, that the food stamps help them put on the table.   Have always had empathy for others and still do which shows why I had all those dust ups over the years with GOP pols and activists.  It is great to be around people with common sense.

I go to the link above and remind myself that for the last 1 1/2 years after joining Republicans for Obama and starting to switch to supporting Democrat candidates,  I made the right move.  I still know a lot of the office holders in Oklahoma who except for a few have really disappointed me over the last ten years.  When we moved here with the closure of the Kelly depot in San Antonio, I had no idea Oklahoma had so many far right loons.  I have been in more fights here including changing the name of the Norman Christmas parade to Holiday parade.  Been threatened, told off, told to move back to Texas, been cussed out etc. by a group of so-called Christian Republicans.

Today I will gladly admit to being a full-fledge Progressive who also believes in clean water and air and think it is deplorable what Koch Bros chemicals is doing first in West Virginia, then to the Ohio River and later to the Mississippi River and the Mississippi Delta on the chemicals trek to the Gulf.  I have turned from a conservationist into an environmentalist and today understand what they have been saying all these years about contamination in our states.

Republicans gutted the EPA so they don't have the manpower to go after the Koch Bros like they should.  If it was me, I would throw the Koch's and their chemical manufacturing company heads in jail for what they are doing to the environment and yet Koch's want no regulations.  As good friend said, then we all have to buy bottled water and they make more money.

BTW, the overturn of DOMA has made me laugh so hard to see some of the comments you have to wonder if these people are for real.  How does it affect anyone's marriage if gays get married.  Their marriages for the most part seem to be happier then a lot of heterosexual marriages where they yell at each other all the time.

Back to why I am happy to no longer support Republicans.  When I think the Oklahoma legislature cannot get much dumber, I am proved wrong.  This time I am on the side of the Governor which hasn't happened for a while:
Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger said during a summit on the state budget that Fallin prefers a bond issue to pay for infrastructure improvements instead of the "pay-as-you-go" approach supported by Shannon and some House conservatives. The summit was hosted by the Oklahoma Policy Institute, a Tulsa-based think-tank that supports additional funding for state programs. 
Fallin last year signed a signature proposal by Shannon to develop a long-term plan to address improvements to some of the state's dilapidated facilities in part through the sale of state property, but Doerflinger said the governor has concerns about that approach given some of the state's more pressing needs. 
"Sometimes it's OK to say maybe that wasn't the wisest move," Doerflinger said. "When we look at the pay-as-you-go model, that causes us to use current revenues on things that could otherwise be used on program areas." 
Doerflinger said Fallin also doesn't support Shannon's proposal to make permanent a 6 percent reduction in the gross production tax for horizontal oil and gas drilling. Put in place in the late 1990s when horizontal drilling was costly and experimental, the incentive that reduces the tax rate from 7 percent to 1 percent is now costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars each year since most new wells are drilled this way. 
Shannon has said he wants the incentive, which is set to expire in 2015, permanently placed at 1 percent. 
"That's his prerogative to do so," Doerflinger said, "but I don't think at the end of the day anybody believes it's going to remain at 1 percent and be made permanent." 
Shannon has consistently rejected the idea of a bond issue, and wants to push ahead with a cut to the state's income tax as well as making the horizontal drilling tax incentive permanent. 
"While we share common ground on many issues, I cannot agree to raise taxes on Oklahoma's top industry or on Oklahoma families and businesses," Shannon said in a statement. "Oklahoma can address its financial needs and infrastructure issues in a conservative, fiscally responsible manner without taking on more debt or increasing the tax burden on our citizens." 
Excerpt:  Read more at Oklahoma Policy Institute
Bonds being released right now carry a low interest so it is beyond dumb to take cash to pay for infrastructure when this year Oklahoma already has a shortfall in revenue.  It is very poor management of state resources and like saying I won't buy a house until I can pay cash.

Then to say we cannot tax oil and gas more when the tax was lowered from 7% to 1% in the late 90's is ludicrous.  The Speaker wants to continue the 1% rate permanently as it expires in 2015.  Oil and gas are falling off their wallets and today we discover for horizontal drilling they only pay a 1% tax?  Give me a break.

Will be doing more research and have more next week since all bills for the legislature had to be submitted by 4 p.m. yesterday.  Now we start learning how many bills have been written by ALEC.  It is great to be on the side of the people fighting ALEC legislation instead of hearing people from the legislature brag how they take credit for bills they don't write.

Please join the efforts to return Oklahoma to common sense and start firing some of the legislators touting the ALEC line instead of what is best for Oklahomans.

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