The 2017 Oklahoma RINO Index

Republican Party Platform Sets the Standards

The higher the score the more conservative the legislator

The GOP Party Platform sets the standards for what is a good vote and what is a bad vote.  Here are the bills in this year’s 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.

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.

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.

HB 1837 changes the lottery by eliminating the 35% contribution to the Oklahoma Education Lottery Trust Fund and replaces it with transferring $50 million dollars off the top. While the administrative costs are also limited to 3% it appears that the bulk of this money being skimmed off will go to advertisers and vendors of gaming systems.

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. 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.

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.  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.

No Trump Tax Cut for You

HB 2348 freezes the standard deduction used on your Oklahoma tax return filing. In 2017 even if the Federal standard deduction goes up your Oklahoma deduction will remain frozen. This is an automatic tax increase on that works or has income from other sources.   Part of that historic tax relief program that Trump got passed isn’t available to you thanks to these politicians. That is real money out of YOUR pocket.

HB 2351 is tax credit scheme used in Tax Incentive Districts and it appears to extend ad valorem tax exemptions an additional five years beyond the original exemptions for the project. Some say this bill was written and passed for a single Oklahoma City developer. Electricity generating projects are exempted from the additional five years property tax exemption. Legislators voted for this special interest tax cut while they raised YOUR taxes.

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. Yes, this is small potatoes but they would waste time and effort on this while ignoring millions of dollars in waste such as the anti swag bill.

HB 2367 removes a 1% rebate on sales taxes paid that has always been used to pay the sales tax permit holders for the cost of keeping track of the taxes paid and for filing the report. Seems a pretty good deal, forcing businesses to be a tax collector for the state in return for a paltry one percent. For the vast majority of permit holders the one percent doesn’t even come close to covering the time to file the reports much less track the actual taxes. For Wal Mart or Amazon, that is a different story. Rather than change the $2500.00 monthly cap the permit holder refunded the politicians just took it all. So while this costs Wal Mart and Amazon $2500.00 it will cost the other businesses around $14 million dollars per year. The discount was also given only when the payment was paid on time or ahead of time, leading to more prompt payments form the sales tax permit holders. For a small business that sold $10,000.00 per month in taxable sales we were talking about $8.38 in discount. That wouldn’t pay the time it took to fill out the form, write the check, and mail it in.

HB 2372 is the $1.50 per pack cigarette tax that funnels 50 percent to the Health Care Authority Enhancement Fund; 23 percent to the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Enhancement Fund; 14.5 percent to the Human Services Enhancement Fund; 5.4 percent to the Oklahoma State University Medical Authority Enhancement Fund; and 2.7 percent to the Health Department Enhancement Fund. This generates $215 million dollars in new taxes

Raising our Taxes While Incurring Massive Debt?

HB 2387 creates new state debt, $45 million dollars in bonds, for the Office of Juvenile affairs. Many millions of dollars will be paid out in bond sale fees and high interest rates, mainly to people that borrowed long term at a few percent interest and turn around and quadruple that in a safe investment to the state. You and I won’t be offered these bonds as investments, only the most connected.
 When you are in debt you don’t build new government complexes with borrowed money at high interest rates.

HB 2389 creates new state debt, $58.5 million dollars in bonds for a new Oklahoma State Department of Health building. Many millions of dollars will be paid out in bond sale fees and high interest rates, mainly to people that borrowed long term at a few percent interest and turn around and quadruple that in a safe investment to the state. You and I won’t be offered these bonds as investments, we aren’t part of the donor class.

HB 2403 is another tax increase that operates by limiting deductions to the first $17,000.00 which would steal another $102 million dollars from Oklahoma taxpayers.

HB 2114 was the infamous log rolling bill that taxed cigarettes, fuel, GPT, and rates on spudded wells. The bill was KNOWN to be unconstitutional and these legislators violated their oath of office when voting for it.

HB 2433 Removes the sales tax exemption on vehicle sales but keeps in place the existing excise taxes on those same vehicles. This is a 38% tax increase on purchasing a new or used vehicle. This will strip another $124 million dollars out of taxpayer’s pockets in 2018 and every year afterward.

SB 38 is a bill that doubles a fee on all crimes except traffic tickets. Keep in mind that they doubled fees last year in criminal cases. The bill will strip about $3 million per year out of Oklahoman’s pockets.

SB 120 extends the time that three aerospace tax credits can be claimed. The three tax credit schemes allow employers to get a 50% tax credit off tuition costs they pay to employees for four years, a $12,500.00 tax credit for wages paid to employees at the rate of 10% for state graduates and 5% for out of state graduates, and a five year long $5000.00 tax credit for employees. All this for jobs that would have come to Oklahoma anyway to be near Tinker. These tax credits are set to expire next year but this measure extends them till 2026.

SB 170 removes income tax rate reduction formulas that automatically reduce the income tax rate if state tax revenue hits a certain level.  If the state is doing well and putting away extra money in the Rainy Day Fund, why not cut the tax rate?

Raising our Taxes While Incurring Massive Debt?

SB 786 Another soft on crime bill that reduces the penalty for first, second, and third degree burglary. It removes a two year minimum sentence and also requires that someone be present in the building before a burglary is a first degree burglary crime. The idea is to lessen the number of inmates in prison.

SB 845 This is the smoking “fee” that replaced the $1.50 per pack cigarette tax that didn’t pass. Since they basically lied and called it a fee they didn’t need a super majority to pass the tax but it will be challenged in court as it is unconstitutional for two reasons. First it is a tax, not a fee, and second it was passed in the last five days of the legislature and that is not allowed. This is a new $257 million dollar tax placed on Oklahoma smokers.

Now, can some of these bills be defended?  Perhaps, if there was a real need for new revenue meaning the waste and inefficiency had been wrung out of the state budget.

That if course has never been done and in fact both legislative leadership and the governor demanded that no cuts or waste be looked at in the special sessions this fall, only new revenue, AKA higher taxes would be signed into law by Mary Fallin.

One bill that never became law was the Anti Swag bill, a bill that would have eliminated trinkets and trophies or mouse pads imprinted with the department logo.  This would have cut $50,000,000.00 out of each year’s budget.  Does the state need to give away DHS calendars or coffee cups with the State Health Department logo on them?

Another idea that was rejected was to do a performance  audit on all state agencies to see how much the services were costing per service.  One infamous example as a group home in the Eastern part of the state where about a half million dollars per year is spent keeping ONE developmentally disabled adult.   Another example is the State Health Department that has lost $30,000,000.00 and has covered up that fact for many years.

Or the idea to turn forfeited bail bond money over to the state.  That would raise about 40 to 50 million dollars a year and the bondsmen would love to see it happen because the larger cities are trying to eliminate the use of bail bonds.  Criminals are caught, given OR bonds which are a pinkie swear to show up for court, given court appointed tax payer paid lawyers, and then they refuse to pay the fines and fees when let off with a suspended sentence.











The 2016 Oklahoma RINO Index

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2017 RINO Index


The 2015 Oklahoma RINO Index

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The 2014 Oklahoma RINO Index

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