June 4th 2017 newsletter
Legislation Being Considered for the 2017 RINO Index
Oh we were told that the budget would be cut and tax credits trimmed down to size yet what happened is new tax credit schemes and ultra low gross production taxes were extended and expanded in scope. While another billion dollars in new taxes or fees were added. Below is a list of bills that we are considering for the 2017 Oklahoma RINO Index.
allows the Oklahoma Tax Commission to create a new department and hire outside auditors to attempt to collect out of state sales tax payments. This appears to be an attempt to harass out of state vendors with Oklahoma customers with the idea of forcing these out of state vendors to collect sales tax or use tax. If the out of state vendors comply with the auditors and hand over a list of shipments into Oklahoma that would cost Oklahoma companies billions of dollars in new taxes.
HB 1449 creates a new tax on electric and hybrid vehicles. Electric vehicles will have $100.00 tacked on to the annual vehicle registration fee and hybrid vehicles will have $30.00 added the registration fee. All vehicles should be paying something toward road costs but at the same time they give out incentives to buy these vehicles so one hand gives, the other hand takes away. At this time there simply isn't that many of these vehicles to make enough difference to pay for the cost of the legislation.
changes the lottery by eliminating the 35% contribution to the Oklahoma Education Lottery Trust Fund and replaces it with transferring $50 million dollars off the top. While the administrative costs are also limited to 3% it appears that the bulk of this money being skimmed off will go to advertisers and vendors of gaming systems.
is the REAL ID bill that forces Oklahoma into the federal identification card system. The program is a privacy nightmare and unneeded. Worse, those promoting the scheme have long lied about the consequences of not having Oklahoma drivers licenses REAL ID compliant, claiming that you couldn't get on an airplane which is not true. It is also a fee increase, adding $5.00 to the license fee, like the $5.00 they added to the tags last year, with the money siphoned off into Public Safety and two dollars to the tag agents. Worse, this bill guts the state prohibition on REAL ID passed about eight to ten years ago. There is a clause stating that the state won't share biometric data of its citizen but there is an out for data sharing required by the feds.
is a new tax credit scheme that gives away 10% of sales tax collected for companies with under one million dollars of new investment in a tourist destination, 25% for those companies with over a million dollars new investment, with the annual limit set at $15 million dollars per year drained out of the state treasury. And this is for investment that is going to be made anyway.
is a soft on crime bill that reduces the penalty for theft, burglary, embezzlement, hot checks, almost every kind of property crime from a felony to a misdemeanor. This is going down from five years in prison to a maximum one year in a county jail.
is a new set of fees on civil court cases. They added $25.00 when a lawyer files a motion to enter the case, which says he is going to be your lawyer for the matter, and an additional $25.00 per item to file subpoenas in civil cases. In both of these cases the lawyer prepares all the paperwork, the court clerk stamps and files it, no need to charge this kind of fee.
freezes the standard deduction used on your Oklahoma tax return filing. In 2017 even if the Federal standard deduction goes up your Oklahoma deduction will remain frozen. This is an automatic tax increase on that works or has income from other sources.
is tax credit scheme used in Tax Incentive Districts and it appears to extend ad valorem tax exemptions an additional five years beyond the original exemptions for the project. Some say this bill was written and passed for a single Oklahoma City developer. Electricity generating projects are exempted from the additional five years property tax exemption.
is a bill that moves forward the due date for franchise tax payments, moving it forward two months. That effectively increases cash flow for the state by taking the tax money before it was originally due.
removes a 1% rebate on sales taxes paid that has always been used to pay the sales tax permit holders for the cost of keeping track of the taxes paid and for filing the report. Seems a pretty good deal, forcing businesses to be a tax collector for the state in return for a paltry one percent. For the vast majority of permit holders the one percent doesn't even come close to covering the time to file the reports much less track the actual taxes. For Wal Mart or Amazon, that is a different story. Rather than change the $2500.00 monthly cap the permit holder refunded the politicians just took it all. So while this costs Wal Mart and Amazon $2500.00 it will cost the other businesses around $14 million dollars per year. The discount was also given only when the payment was paid on time or ahead of time, leading to more prompt payments form the sales tax permit holders. For a small business that sold $10,000.00 per month in taxable sales we were talking about $8.38 in discount. That wouldn't pay the time it took to fill out the form, write the check, and mail it in.
is the $1.50 per pack cigarette tax that funnels 50 percent to the Health Care Authority Enhancement Fund; 23 percent to the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Enhancement Fund; 14.5 percent to the Human Services Enhancement Fund; 5.4 percent to the Oklahoma State University Medical Authority Enhancement Fund; and 2.7 percent to the Health Department Enhancement Fund. This generates $215 million dollars in new taxes.
creates new state debt, $45 million dollars in bonds, for the Office of Juvenile affairs. Many millions of dollars will be paid out in bond sale fees and high interest rates, mainly to people that borrowed long term at a few percent interest and turn around and quadruple that in a safe investment to the state. You and I won't be offered these bonds as investments, only the most connected.
creates new state debt, $58.5 million dollars in bonds for a new Oklahoma State Department of Health building. Many millions of dollars will be paid out in bond sale fees and high interest rates, mainly to people that borrowed long term at a few percent interest and turn around and quadruple that in a safe investment to the state. You and I won't be offered these bonds as investments, only the most connected.
increases the annual fee for pesticide permits, removes the state departments from their exemption from paying for the permits (out of one pocket into another) and adds an additional $100 late fee. This is an additional $0.8 million dollars out of Oklahoma pockets
is another tax increase that operates by limiting deductions to the first $17,000.00 which would steal another $102 million dollars from Oklahoma taxpayers.
is another gross production tax decrease that allows another four years of reduced taxes from oil and gas wells. Even though it reduces the amount of tax the state gets the measure was estimated to bring in an additional $95 million dollars. However, the language in that estimate was extremely sparse, as if they were reluctant to discuss the matter and the less said the less to hang them with later. In the end it was an extension of the huge gross production tax decreases passed by Democrats and kept in place by the Republicans thanks to profuse campaign donations.
Removes the sales tax exemption on vehicle sales but keeps in place the existing excise taxes on those same vehicles. This is a 38% tax increase on purchasing a new or used vehicle. This will strip another $124 million dollars out of taxpayer's pockets in 2018 and every year afterward.
is a bill that doubles a fee on all crimes except traffic tickets. Keep in mind that they doubled fees last year in criminal cases. The bill will strip about $3 million per year out of Oklahoman's pockets.
extends the time that three aerospace tax credits can be claimed. The three tax credit schemes allow employers to get a 50% tax credit off tuition costs they pay to employees for four years, a $12,500.00 tax credit for wages paid to employees at the rate of 10% for state graduates and 5% for out of state graduates, and a five year long $5000.00 tax credit for employees. All this for jobs that would have come to Oklahoma anyway to be near Tinker. These tax credits are set to expire next year but this measure extends them till 2026.
removes income tax rate reduction formulas that automatically reduce the income tax rate if state tax revenue hits a certain level.
Comrade Senator Yen's tanning booth bill the restricts anyone less than 18 years old from using a tanning booth. Another do nothing nanny state legislative action.
Another soft on crime bill that reduces the penalty for first, second, and third degree burglary. It removes a two year minimum sentence and also requires that someone be present in the building before a burglary is a first degree burglary crime. The idea is to lessen the number of inmates in prison.
another nanny state bill, literally, that requires day cares to follow certain dietary guidelines and to provide adult-infant interaction, what ever that is. It also mandates a change in “screen time” or the amount of time that two year old kids spend watching TV or movies.
Strips $60 million dollars from the Rainy Day Fund to pay for ad valorem reimbursement from all the tax credits that strip hundreds of millions of dollars from local property tax rolls each year.
This is the smoking “fee” that replaced the $1.50 per pack cigarette tax that didn't pass. Since they basically lied and called it a fee they didn't need a supermajority to pass the tax but it will be challenged in court as it is unconstitutional for two reasons. First it is a tax, not a fee, and second it was passed in the last five days of the legislature and that is not allowed. This is a new $257 million dollar tax placed on Oklahoma smokers.
is the $6.8 billion dollar bloated budget bill
is another gross production tax credit scheme that continues the ultra low rate of 2% while neighboring states all have the rate set at 7%. Democrats lowered the oil and gas tax rate decades ago and the Republicans have kept the low rate in place which has devastated our state budget. So despite all the talk about easing out tax credits and special interest tax deals we wound up creating multiple new tax schemes or extending the old ones.
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HIS FIRST CHANCE TO BREAK THE LAW
AND HE SCREWS OVER THE PEOPLE HE WORKS FOR
So here we are. The calm before the storm. The legislature failed to do its job and pass a balanced budget. That is a debatable subject. They started the session knowing they had an almost $900 million dollar gap in the budget. This was a phony budget. The gap was the difference in what was coming into the state’s coffers and what they wanted to spend. Even with all their trickery and word games they still left a $400 million dollar gap in the budget. A vast majority of which was passed in violation of the Oklahoma State Constitution. We must ask if these legislators that voted for these revenue increases in the last five days of the session are intelligent enough to hold the offices they occupy? We think not.
What brought our attention to this article was this MuskogeePolitico.com: Oklahoma Senate Pro Tem comments on 2017 session
. Here we have the Senate President pro-tem Mike Shulz bragging on how hard they worked. We find this to be preposterous. We would find it to be a little bit more believable if they hadn’t adjourned for the weekend so many times after Thursday sessions for the first couple of months. It also would have been more credible if they would have followed the Oklahoma State Constitution and passed all revenue increase measures in the allotted time. Let us also not forget that the State Constitution requires that all revenue generating bills are to originate in the House. Some of them actually were generated in the Senate. Here we have an individual with eleven years of service to the state in an elected position, and it appears that he has no idea what the State Constitution says regarding passing the state budget.
We started our research by going to his official web site at www.ok.gov
. This is what we found Oklahoma State Senate - Senators
. This is what is called a biography page. Just looking at it the one thing that stands out is that typical of most Senators they don’t give you anything about themselves that isn’t actually bragging about themselves. This is what we the people get for what is supposed to be an open government.
The next article of interest we found was this Mike Schulz - Wikipedia
. If we didn’t know better we would think that the same person who wrote his official Senate biography page wrote the page for Wikipedia. We did learn one new piece of information that is not relevant to this article and will not reveal it. We could find no evidence of the individual’s involvement in his campaigns.
Business and Consumers
2015-2016 National Federation of Independent Businesses 100%
2014 Research Institute for Economic Development 100%
2013-2014 National Federation of Independent Businesses 100%
2009 OKWatchdog-Position on Consumer and Patient Advocacy 64%
Those are the type of numbers that indicate that he doesn’t really care how much you the consumer have to pay. He’s already getting his cut.
2016 The Oklahoma Constitution –Position 40%
2016 The Oklahoma Constitution Lifetime Score 60%
2015 American Conservative Union- Lifetime Score 62%
We could go on but it just gets repetitious.
2016 Sooner Tea Party 10%
2015 American Conservative Union (State Legislature) 69%
2014 Sooner Tea Party 0%
2013 Sooner Tea Party 20%
2015 Oklahoma Second Amendment Association 29%
2010 NRA Political Victory Fund A-
2006 NRA Political Victory Fund A-
Now we don’t hold much stock in the NRA ratings. They endorsed Democrat Senator Harry Reid of Nevada for re-election just to get a new gun range built in Nevada.
This man is not a Conservative politician. He has been bought and paid for by the special interest groups and their lobbyist that hang around the capital all year.
The next article of interest we found was this Mike Schulz - Ballotpedia
. In this report you begin to see the amount of money he raised while he was in office for his reelection campaigns. What you also see is that as a Senator he is making just shy of $35,000 dollars a year plus being paid a per diem of $156 dollars a day. They are already making a salary that puts them above the poverty line in the state for a part time job why in the world do they need a per diem for. For the first month to month and a half of the session they don’t even bother to work for a full week. Most of them are on their way home by noon on Thursday. Imagine that. We are paying these people a full time salary for part time work and they get a better retirement than most of the people in the state. This is ludicrous.
The next article of interest we found was this Senator Mike Schulz - Four Star Leadership
. How he made the General’s list is beyond our comprehension. The only thing that we can see him being a four star leader in is accepting graph from lobbyist to help get himself reelected. That is not the type of leader or state or our country needs at this juncture in our history.
It seems like the man just can’t stop bragging about himself. We found this article The Okie » OK Senate Leader Outlines Legislative Session Highlights
. What they have done here is created protections for the people who finance his and most of the other legislator’s campaigns. He seems have left out the fact that they passed the budget and several revenue raising bills passed the deadline date, which violates the Oklahoma State Constitution. We can only assume that they feel that the rule of law doesn’t apply to those elected to those that write the laws. He, like all the others, needs to take a course on the Oklahoma State Constitution between now and the next session. As it is, our politicians have been in violation of the Oklahoma State Constitution since 1994.
We next went to www.ok.gov/ethicscommittee
to see what information they had available on his campaign records. We found records dating back to 2006. In fact we found it strange that there were actually two identicle campaign notices for the same man. You can see those notices below:
He ran his last campaign in 2014, so that is where we began. There are several areas in the campaign where he file that he received no contributions from anyone. Those reports are fine. They are required by law to be filed even if no funds were received by the campaign. What really bothered us is the fact that throughout the nearly four years of an open campaign, you could count the number of individual donators on your hands and toes. That is dangerous to his constituents.
When it came to Corporate, Committee and Special Interest group donations he got a lot. In fact he got enough donations that as we write this article he stands to leave office with a Golden Parachute below.
That is money that is still in his campaign coffers. We also found that he didn’t stop collecting campaign donation until the end of March 2016. It’s enough to draw suspension on his political plans after the Senate.
The next article we found came out in a real timely manner Legislative actions will have ripple effect | News OK
. The first item they talk about is getting in conformity with the Real ID act. They also said it’s going to take time. People the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety installed cameras capable of facial recognition software usage almost ten years ago. They did it even after the House, Senate and the Governor told them not to. Over the last few years they’ve been collecting fingerprint data. All of that made us in compliance with the Real ID act. All they did this year was make it official. Some of us still have our eyes open Senators, Representatives and Governor.
They made it a requirement now that in order to become a County Sheriff you have to have prior law enforcement experience. What took you guys so long? This should have been a requirement from the day we first became a state.
This legislative session was nothing short of a complete failure for the citizens of Oklahoma. This man led the way. Even with the claw back on a few tax incentives given to special interest groups they couldn’t find the courage to claw back enough to give our teachers a pay raise. Now many of our best are leaving the state. They violated the State Constitution in several bills they passed and they have also violated for the 23rd consecutive year the mandate in the State Constitution that requires a State Constitutional Convention be held every twenty years. Once again the bill never got a vote in committee. This entire group of legislative chambercrats deserve an incomplete for the work they didn’t do. They even left a $400 million dollar gap in the budget and this joker has the nerve to brag about how well they did. Sometimes you people have to stop worrying about your political career and start doing right by the people.