The House Democrat Coup
On May 8th, House Speaker Jim Barker was unexpectedly ousted during the 1989 legislative session by dissident Democrats joined by House Republicans. He was the only sitting House speaker to be removed from the office. He was succeeded by Steve Lewis, D-Shawnee.
The Bellmon Tax & Education Overhaul
House Bill 1017
The following year, Speaker Steve Lewis (D- Shawnee) steered the HB1017 plan to fix the education funding issue once & for all. The bill levied a half-cent sales tax, a 1 percent corporate tax and a personal income tax increase. In 1990, the new taxes raised $230 million for the 1017 fund. In 2009, the taxes raised $602.3 million, including several new taxes that voters approved in 2004 on items such as tobacco and tribal gaming.
It finally passed and the RINO governor signed it. The following 2 years, the education unions and many PTA groups targeted fiscal conservatives for defeat. Speaker Steve Lewis ran for US Senate against Don Nickles in '92. The education PAC did defeat some conservatives in 1990 general elections but failed in almost all their attempts to take on conservative legislators in '92.
Steve Lewis lost the 1992 US Senate bid and has not held elective office since. He is still a lobbyist at the capitol.
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...