In a sharply worded chastisement of the legislature, the Tulsa Area Republican Assembly(TARA) unanimously passed a resolution of criticism of the 2 legislative chambers. They called the recent behavior "insulting" and 'ignoring the intent of the Oklahoma Constitution.
TARA president, David Van Risseghem said; "The constitution works well, when the legislature partners with the voters."
The constitutional clause says that voters are to decide if any 'revenue raising' proposition becomes law. It was established when past legislatures repeatedly approved heavy tax increases while giving carve-out credits to corporate interests. Only in dire circumstances were lawmakers allowed to enact tax increases, but a 75% vote of support is then required. In the past 25 years, the legislature has strictly avoided letting voters decide on revenue (tax/fee) increases.
Other Republican groups are also affirming similar resolutions, or scheduling votes at County Committee Meetings.
Journalist, Jamison Faught reports that the Muskogee County Republicans passed an identical statement this week. Okmulgee, Okfuskee, Cherokee & Wagoner County GOP Committees are holding meetings in the next several days.
Steve Byas, publisher of the Oklahoma Constitution, said after meeting with a county Republican Committee; "The voters are angry! They feel the Republican legislature has not kept faith with the party.
Here is the document that TARA passed, unanimously, at their January meeting...
State Constitution Under Assault
The Oklahoma House Leadership has filed a bill which would seek to remove constitutional protections against a legislative revenue increase (they want to raise taxes without our consent). House Speaker Pro Temp, Harold Wright, filed the bill to weaken the constitutional protections of Article 5, Section 33. Last Summer some of our members went to the Oklahoma Supreme Court to defeat their violations of this key reform of 1992.
They want to get their way and pass revenue increases (taxes, fees, etc.) without a simple majority vote of the people. The Constitution requires support of 75% of both chambers. House Leaders want to lower that percent to 60%. This Tuesday we will entertain a motion of our 2018 membership, to declare & publish the following resolution.
The Proposed Resolution.
We the members of the Tulsa Area Republican Assembly strongly oppose the weakening of our state constitution regarding taxpayer protections. Revenue Increases through raising taxes, removing exemptions, or increasing fees; must be approved by the majority of the voters, or 75% of each of the 2 chambers of the legislature. The constitution works well, when the legislature partners with the voters.
We demand the legislature to trust the voters to make wise revenue decisions. This legislature has ignored & insulted the voters. We will support candidates who respect the voters' proper place in deciding revenue increase proposals. We believe the constitutional language intended to voters to generally be a part of that process.