It is a very old story and I have heard it repeated many times. It seems that legislators cannot hold a budget hearing or meet with representatives of state government agencies without being subjected to a long and nuanced description of the agency’s great financial needs.
Last week I described the dangerous decline of transparency in the Legislature and how this is leading to an environment into which terrible ideas are quickly advancing from introduction to passage before legislators can figure out the implications and before the public can realize what is being done to them.
Last week I described a key moment from the 2015 legislative session that put the Oklahoma Legislature on a downward transparency trajectory: legislators suspended an important transparency policy because their leaders told them that they would be required to work on a Saturday if they failed to approve the suspension.
Last week I wrote of the devolution of openness in the Oklahoma Legislature.
Longtime readers will know that from the time of my election in 2006 until a few years ago I was quite bullish on the potential for legislative transparency.
It was the last straw. For years, an area-based business owner had managed to deal with the stressful and potentially punitive sales tax collection requirements of the state, but a fiscally foolish decision by the governor and this year’s state legislature finally pushed him into a decision that will prove very costly to the state.
That was my first thought as I stared up at the monitor in the Appropriations Committee hearing room. The committee was just starting to consider the 2018 appropriations bill — a bill that was supposed to be House Bill 2401; however, the screen informed those of us on the committee that Senate Bill 860 was […]
Would you believe that the House Appropriations Committee approved the 2018 state budget without reading a single word of the bill?
As this legislative year concluded, those who had been trying to raise taxes gave up on all but the smallest pretense of following the Constitution.
Though far removed from reality, the legislative world does share some aspects with the real world.
Over the past weeks, readers of these articles have read about just a few of the tactics utilized by the tax increase idealogues to convince Oklahoma’s legislators to betray their values and to increase your taxes.
It was the moment that left no doubt in my mind: the fix was in. Not only would this not be a year for reform but it would be the worst legislative year of my eleven. Midway through the legislative year, following the conclusion of a House session, a leading appropriations officials remained on the […]
This year’s legislative session was dominated by a group of “raise taxes at all costs” ideologues who deployed aggressive strategies to advance an array of principle-betraying tax and fee increases upon the people of Oklahoma. Last week I wrote in some detail about the strategy of freshman pawning: a technique for getting new legislators to […]
Much of the time and energy of this legislative session was consumed by the push to raise taxes, even if those taxes were unconstitutional. This push was led by a group of “increase taxes at all cost” ideologues who deployed an array of tactics and strategies to convince their colleagues to raise taxes. One such […]
It was the speech that officially launched a new and dangerous ideology: do whatever it takes to raise taxes — even it it means ignoring the Constitution. In February, the Governor addressed the Legislature and called for an array of new and increased taxes. The Governor demonstrated savvy political sophistication and a modicum of Republican […]
In last week’s article I described my initial optimism for this year’s legislative session and detailed the opportunities afforded to this year’s legislature. I explained my initial belief that a new generation of legislative leaders were coming into leadership who understood the need for reform. My early optimism appeared justified. Appropriations officials held substantive and […]
Perhaps you read these articles a few months ago and took note of my optimism about this year’s legislative session. As the legislative year progressed, you likely also noticed my sentiment devolve into strong disapproval. I have imagined the confusion of the reader who in the past six months suffered the whiplash effect of three […]
As this year’s legislative session drew to a close, legislators commenced a rapid fire process of throwing out various tax increase proposals in an apparent attempt to see what they could get before those impacted by the new taxes could engage. This made an absolute mockery of any semblance of transparency in the legislative process.
As I think back over the recently concluded legislative session, I recall an especially notable moment during one of the frequent tax increase sessions of the Appropriations and Budget Committee.
Over the course of the past several months I have written about an array of tax increases attempted by the legislature. As this year’s legislative session has been brought to an end, I thought it a good idea to describe the tax increase attempts that were not successful.