Can a legislature declare take money retroactively from what a previous legislature appropriated? Can a legislator declare a retroactive tax hike on money we each earned 4 years ago?
Those are some analogies being floated by several county governments.
Just last week we heard several legislators characterize the curtailing of future wind industry credits as "breaching a contract with corporate partners".
In the past few years our county governments have had funds appropriated to them for infrastructure, but only to have future legislatures and the governor confiscate the funds. Some of these funds were for road projects needed to entice major employers into the state.
The 8 counties of Civil Engineering District 4(CE4), in south central Oklahoma, have provided a document dump to SoonerPolitics to make their rebuttal of ODOT's vehement and scolding press release of yesterday.
At heart is the matter of funds allocated years ago to the counties, but confiscated by the 56th legislature during fiscal year 2018. It effectively resulted in the 2017 legislature doing a line-item veto of the state budgets of up to 5 previous years' budgets.
We are posting the 47-pages of documents. The copy sent to us by a county commissioner, has mark ups and notes indicating the discrepancies.
A big problem lies in the inconsistent balances resulting from different ODOT bookkeeping. Commissioners of some counties in CE4 claim that 3 different negative balances are reported, using 3 different accounting practices which conflict.
The Commissioners seem to assert that the Oklahoma constitution is violated by the legislature and governor by retroactively recalling past year budget appropriations.