If you chuckle at the 50 filed bills, you'll really get a kick out of the ideas that didn't even make it that far. And some of the ideas rumored about. One shocking story is that Republican leaders want to overhaul the income tax code specifically so that the poor pay more taxes and the rich pay less. Yes, you read that correctly. The idea is to cut the $1000 per-person exemption, but cut the overall rate by a bit. This would devastate the younger, poorer, single parent, and disabled. But the wealthy would catch a windfall. I would hope that Speaker Charles McCall would help squash this kind of antic, but the sad news is that the idea is attributed to him!
UPDATE: The income tax code ideas of the leadership are evidently fluid. Some reports now say that the initiative is being pitched as a simplification which will bring us closer to a flat tax concept. My newest sources now say that personal exemptions will not be eliminated, but the special carve-out credits to the select few, are going to be replaced by a lower rate on everyone. You may not be able to deduct the mortgage on your second house at the lake. If you power your speedboat on cow manure, you may not like the reform, but for the mainstream rest of us, it will be less painful. The completed package will not be ready on Monday. It may not even be ready at all until February.
It would play into Scott Inman's narrative of class warfare for a good reason.... it is! By the same token, Inman's proposal to hammer the oil producers with a tripling of the gross production tax is also a class warfare antic. The Democrat's don't show any sign of capitulating of capitulating or even modifying their position. They may even circumvent the legislature by circulating their own initiative petition for raising Petroleum Gross Production Tax to the full 7% via an election day vote of the people. this type of populism may prevail, especially if the Republican leadership keeps playing into their hands at every turn.
Majority Floor Leader, Jon Echols, is already seeking to carve out a special exemption for big rig trucks sold in Oklahoma. He helped pass the double taxing of autos in the current budget. But the impact is being felt in harmful ways. He's helping out just one of those whom his votes hurt.
UPDATE: Rep. Echols explains that most media got some wrong essential facts on the reform he's addressing. He says the bill he's authoring addresses the fleets of trailers that Walmart and other carriers now register in Oklahoma. He says that the policy has helped bring in national commerce in the long run, but the legislation from last spring created a problem with the state's strategic initiative in how trailers are registered. Senator Mark Allen is advocating the same carve-out, with SB 44x.
Rep. Bobby Cleveland is also seeking to give a favored constituency a special carve-out on car sales tax. His HB1x wants some veterans and their widows to get a pass on the car tax. Cleveland voted for that tax. It narrowly passed, and was narrowly allowed by the high court. The only reason it got the 5th vote in the high court is because Justice Gurich strongly believes the founders hated the idea of carving out exemptions to a favored few. Yet Cleveland wants his favored few to be added to the protected class.
Let's look at some bills worth our attention.
Opinion of the Editor
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David Van Risseghem is the Director of Sooner Politics.org. The resource is committed to informing & mobilizing conservative Oklahomans for civic reform. This endeavor seeks to utilize the efforts of all cooperative facets of the Conservative movement...