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June 18th 2017 Newsletter
2017 Oklahoma RINO Index House Version
This year's House version of the 2017 Oklahoma RINO Index was drawn from the same list of 28 bills that the Senate Index was drawn from, with one exception, one of the log rolled tax increases was added before the list was boiled down to twenty bills.
One legislator got all 29 votes right, Rep. Jason Murphey, next was Rep Tommy Hardin at three bad votes and two missed votes (half point each) and Rep. Mike Ritze at two bad votes and four missed votes, then Rep. Tom Gann at five bad votes and Rep Chuck Strohm with five bad votes and two missed votes.
You can see last week's newsletter with the Senate RINO Index for a list of the bills and why they were bad for the majority of Oklahomans. Here are the bills that some of the top ten legislators voted wrong on.
HB 2131 which received six bad votes and one missed vote, and it was a bad bill that siphoned off 10% of the sales tax collected by the firms availing of this corporate welfare credit. Even though some of the top ten legislators voted for it the bill is bad enough to keep in the Index.
HB 2281, received seven bad votes and one missed vote and it was a soft on crime bill that reduced penalties on many crimes. There is another bad soft on crime vote so this bill was striken from the index.
SB 842, received six bad votes, it raided $60 million dollars from the Rainy Day Fund to reimburse tax credits that had stripped property taxes from local school districts. Instead of doing this they should have voted to remove the tax credits themselves. It was a bad bill but given we have to winnow down the list it got cut from the list. Only five or six legislators voted against the bill and it was mostly in the top five.
SB 860, received seven bad votes out of the top ten legislators. It is the bloated budget bill which some would argue had to be passed. By striking the bill it harms mostly the Democrats that voted against the bill in mass.
SB 867, received three bad votes from the top ten legislators. The top four voted against the bill which continued the ultra low gross production tax rate of 2% while surrounding states have kept it at 7 to 7.5%. While it was a bad bill it also wasn't a tax increase or fee increase so with the need to strike bills from the list. Mostly Democrats suffered from cutting this bill from the Index.
HB 2429 which received three bad votes from the top ten legislators. This is another extension of the low gross production oil and gas credit, a bill that in a normal year would be included on the index but given that it is a tax credit and not another tax increase of fee increase it was chopped off the index. Again mostly Democrats suffered, the top four legislators didn't vote for it,
HB 2306, received three bad votes including one from the second from the top legislator. It is a new fee on filing subpoenas in civil cases, not good but it falls upon those filing civil cases which are going to be the better off in society. And it is a fee for something done by the government, not a tax that hits everyone and with the need to drop some bills this one fit well. Once again the Democrats voted en mass against the bill so few were harmed other than the Democrats. Some butt hurt RINOs and their supporters like to claim the Index is skewed against liberal Repubicans but in fact the conservative Democrats lose the most points.
HB 2392, the increased pesticide fee increase. Only one legislator in the top ten voted for this bill but three missed the vote. It is a fee increase but it hits a small number of farmers and is less than one million dollars impact so this bill was stricken. A few normally liberal RINO Republicans found their No vote was wasted but this is the kind of bill that the more moderate RINOs like to vote on as their vote might be picked up by other voting indexes.
SB 786 is another soft on crime bill that lowers penalties on crimes. It received three bad votes and three missed votes in the top ten legislators. But this is the only soft on crime bill left so this bill stays.
SB 806 is a bill that forced dietary guidelines on day care centers, a Nanny State bill. It wasn't a good bill to vote for and two of the top ten legislators voted for it, both Democrats, so striking the bill hurts mostly Democrats and liberal Republicans as the RINOs use these sort of bills to try to claim they vote conservatively. As there are more important tax and fee increases this bill was stricken.
SB 765 is Senator Comrade Yen's tanning booth bill. Only two of the top ten legislators voted for it but once again this is the kind of bills that the RINOs like to vote against in an effort to maintain a shred of conservative voting record. A bad bill but as it doesn't increase fees or taxes it needs to be cut from the list.
And the results are that the top nine are all Republicans, with Rep. Shane Stone coming in at #10 as the first Democrat, with the last Democrat coming in at #58 of 101 total legislators with the bottom 43 scores all being Republican.
Why so many Democrats in the middle? Because they are so few and so out of power their strategy is to vote against tax increases and fee increases, something they normally would support. However, they didn't vote for these tax and fee increases so regardless of the motivation they were scored accurately.
The flip side is that the Republicans were hell bent on raising taxes and fees while continuing as many of the tax credits and even making new tax credits. So they rightfully earned their spot at the bottom of the Index.
There should be two files attached to this email, the House Index in PDF format and the Senate Index in PDF format.  Please share these far and wide, all we ask is that you attribute them to the Sooner Tea Party.
And here are the scores:
2007 Oklahoma RINO Index Senate Version Feedback
Last week we received several emails from House legislators concerning the scoring for the 2017 Oklahoma RINO Index which was unexpected as the Index had yet to be published for the House. It turned out that one of the links in one of our articles contained a list of votes that contained one error, from another group, so it was heartening to see that some of the legislators were paying attention even to the links in our articles. As it wasn't our doing we made sure to respond but also contacted the organization responsible, and they promptly fixed the error.
The Senate RINO Index also upset a few “butt hurt” RINO supporters, upset that their “guy” was exposed as a liberal or tax and spend Republican. Another was upset that there weren't any 2nd Amendment bill listed.
Chips fall where they may, it is the politician that casts the votes, we just use House and Senate voting records to publicize their actions. If they are exposed as liberal, so should they be labeled. One would think that the butt hurt supporters would expend their wrath on the politician, not the messenger. One the gun bills, had any of the bills been of major importance, as in if they curtailed our rights, they would have been on the list of bills to be considered. But all of the gun bills this year were pro 2nd Amendment rights so voting for them was a good thing albeit it is true that the bills were of varying quality and usefulness. Why would anyone advocate rewarding a politician for voting right? In our opinion the RINO Index is a list of bad votes, not a pat on the back for what they should be doing anyway.
The OCPA Conservative Index does things differently. Their index is a list of positive votes and as such the legislators have long since learned to manipulate the group. Bills are filed that stand no chance of being passed or bills that do nothing once they are passed and OCPA has always taken the bait and swallowed it whole. The list is highly slanted toward religion and anti abortion, both fine reasons to have concern on a bill, but leaving off massive amounts of corporate welfare legislation, tax increases, and fee increases leaves the list watered down.
One year the OCPAC list omitted the major Obama Care/Fallin Care bill. The next year a half dozen long recognized legislators such as Rep. Mike Ritze and Rep John Bennett were labeled as RINOs! Insane and irresponsible, the mark of a list that was winnowed down by a mob instead of a select group of thinkers wanting to boil the bills down based upon damage and relevancy.
Political supporters can be strange people. They aren't unlike the sports fanatics that get bent out of shape when their team is slandered or defeated, as if they base their entire self worth on how a “team” is viewed despite them personally having nothing to do with the performance of the team. But these poor souls get their only self worth through the association with what they perceive as winners so being labeled a loser cuts to the bone and they lash out.
In the end the Sooner Tea Party RINO Index is based solely upon Republican Party Platform criteria. In fact, as the GOP voted by narrow margins to NOT enforce the GOP Party Platform were are pretty much the only organization in the state willing to call a spade a spade. If people get upset, they should be upset, just not with us. If they are, too bad.
One of the greatest examples of the power of the RINO Index has been the turnaround of Senator Mark Allen who once had rankings of 20 to 40 on the index and is now a continuous high ranking conservative Senator. Allen came in at #5 from the top, a solid 70 points out of 100. That happened because one STP article was published endorsing his Democrat opponent in the 2014 General Election, which the liberal Democrat promptly published in a half page ad in the county newspaper. One County GOP was livid at the time but later apologized and admitted that we had singlehandedly turned Senator Allen around and Allen learned that there are consequences for following Senate leadership blindly.
Correction on Last Week's Senate RINO Index
Stuff happens, 48 Senators and 28 bills that needed votes tallied, 1344 votes in all in the 2017 Oklahoma RINO Index for the State Senate. And one vote has been reported as wrong, Senator Nathan Dahm's vote on SB 120, the aerospace tax credit/corporate welfare bill. That is a 99.995 % error rating, probably better than we thought possible.
Still Dahm's score was lowered by five points and correcting the vote restored him to his 100 score. In our defense Dahm had voted poorly on some of the bills that were left out of the Index and had there been just one wrong vote we certainly would have looked at it to triple check. Still this is a fine voting record in a year where leadership throughout the state was demanding more and more tax increases.
The Watchman
We as citizens of the State of Oklahoma must ask ourselves if we are doing enough to protect ourselves from the vultures the fly around the halls of the State Capital in Oklahoma City. Judging by this year’s budget battle the answer is clearly no. We remember the words of the Chair of the Appropriations Committee from May 2, 2017 in this article Tax increases can slow Oklahoma's economic growth | News OK. She also says “Energy production is a foundational element of Oklahoma’s economy, but there are signs some state lawmakers are taking it for granted.” She is correct. What she failed to mention is she is one of them. This is said just three weeks before they violate the Constitution and pass some of the biggest tax increases in state history. Once again they have failed to take any action towards expanding the economic base of the state. It’s like nothing in the state matters but oil and gas. That is sheer lunacy.
We started by going to www.ok.gov to look at her official biography page here Representative Leslie Osborn - Oklahoma House of Representatives. We found little information available on this page. It makes you wonder what she’s hiding.
We next went to www.votesmart.org to see what information they had. We started by going to the biography page here Leslie Osborn's Biography - The Voter's Self Defense System - Vote Smart. There is some additional information here, but it is clearly obvious that she prefers to keep her private life private.
We next went to her voting records page here Leslie Osborn's Voting Records - The Voter's Self Defense System - Vote Smart. We urge you to open this link and read the documents provided. This covers every vote she made while a member of the House. As we said in an earlier report, she never met a tax increase she didn’t like.
We next went to the ratings and Endorsements page here Leslie Osborn's Ratings and Endorsements - The Voter's Self Defense System - Vote Smart. Here is some of what we found.
2012 Oklahomans for Life, Inc. 100%
Agriculture and Food
2015 Oklahoma Farm Bureau Federation 100%
2013 Oklahoma Farm Bureau Federation 100%
Business and Consumer
2015-2016 National Federation of Independent Business 100%
2014 Research Institute for Economic Development 85%
2013-2014 National Federation of Independent Business 100%
We could go on, but it is just repetitious. The high numbers indicated here are indicative of an individual who is more concerned about the pocket books of business have than they are of those that put her into office. This is disgraceful.
2016 The Oklahoma Constitution 23%
2015 American Conservative Union 73%
2015 The Oklahoma Constitution 63%
2014 American Conservative Union 70%
2014 The Oklahoma Constitution 49%
Fiscally Conservative
2016 Sooner Tea Party 30%
2015 American Conservative Union 76%
2014 Sooner Tea Party 10%
She sure likes to spend the people’s money. She proved that by not giving us a balanced budget this year.
We next went to the Campaign Finance section here Leslie Osborn's Campaign Finances - The Voter's Self Defense System - Vote Smart. We will concede that she received numerous donations from individual donors. The total amount was just over $24 thousand dollars. What is disturbing is that she received donations from every special interest group in the book. These donations amounted to over $150 thousand dollars. Why is the Chair of the Appropriation Committee accepting donations from industries that she should have known that their tax credits would be in question this year? This raises a serious ethical question. Did she accept the money and work to stop the cuts or did she accept the funds knowing all along she couldn’t stop the cuts. This is something that is in need of further investigation.
The next article of interest we found was this Leslie Osborn - Wikipedia. There is a lot of good information contained in this article however many details of her political career have been left out. She was the author of the bill that changed the Workman’s Compensation reform in the state. To this day many Oklahoman’s who have been injured on the job suffer along with their families because of these changes. They benefitted the companies and not the workers. She has gained notoriety in other ways while in office. In 2011 she was featured in a story outing a handful of legislators that were allegedly cheating on their spouses. She was linked to Representative Dan Kirby in a long running illicit affair and was in the middle of an accelerated divorce at the time.
In 2014 she was arrested for speeding. It seems that she didn’t feel that doing 112 miles per hour was against the legal limit of 70 miles per hour. The arrest was made by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. The case rocked along for a few months before being set for trial and the settled by bond forfeiture without ever setting foot inside the courthouse. To us this sounds a lot like special treatment for an elected official. Speeds that high are usually charged with not only speeding but careless and reckless driving too. This is one of many speeding tickets she has received over the years.
The next article of interest we found was this Oklahoma lawmaker: Economic calamity awaits if we fail to act | News OK. This is one of the most honest statements she has ever made as a legislator. We are forced to ask, why didn’t she and her fellow legislators act on it? Here we sit as a state depending on oil and natural gas to fund a majority of everything, including their campaigns for re-election. Are they dreaming of the boom days of the 80’s? Can they not see that a rig count as indicated in this report
Rig count dips in Oklahoma | News OK, of only 120 active drilling rigs in the state will not fund their excesses forever? Their reliance on oil and gas has cost this state more than they realize. Since 2000, we have lost enough jobs and population that we have also lost a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. When are you going to start thinking about diversity in our economy?
The next article of interest we found was this Rep. Leslie Osborn On GRDA: Should We Be In The Electric Utility Business? | StateImpact Oklahoma. We would encourage you to open the link and read the article. Her bill was not perfect by any means, but it does raise a very valid question. How much is the state spending each year on the GRDA? Why did the scenic rivers become part of the GRDA and not the Parks Department? It has long been known that the GRDA has been a retirement home for disgraced legislators. We shouldn’t be in the electric business.
Then we found this article Rep. Leslie Osborn: Three lessons from the 2017 Oklahoma Legislature | Opinionfeatured | tulsaworld.com. Right off the bat she indicates that she is a tax and spend liberal. Her statement of “We have a revenue problem.” doesn’t stand the smell test. What we have is a spending problem. As a business owner and Chair of the Appropriations committee she may think she can dazzle people with her brilliance, or baffle them with her bull crap, but some of us outside of the corrupt halls of the State House do know how the budget is put together. For over two years now our legislators have failed to heed the warnings from the State Treasurer of declines in our revenue intake. Their response was to inflate the budget with more tax dollars than we have coming in. This is sheer stupidity on the part of the Governor, the Senate and the House. The state didn’t see an increase in collections until April of this year. Now the citizens are going to suffer from the illegal tax increases they passed.
The next article of interest we found was this Oklahoma Education Association - Rep. Leslie Osborn (R-Oklahoma) biography. This article indicates just how amiable to unions and other special interest groups she is. Throughout her political career she has worked to benefit her corporate donors. We find this practice to be not in the best interest for her constituents or for the State of Oklahoma.
We can only conclude that Rep. Leslie Osborn is part of the problem not the solution. She has failed to closed the phony budget gap. She has failed to pass must revenue bills in the allotted time. She has failed to heed to the principals of the Oklahoma GOP platform and she has failed as a leader. There is absolutely no reason she should be allowed a chairmanship in the upcoming session, nor reelected in 2018.