Taxes

OCPA: "Messaging" Matters, So Do Facts

“Messaging” Matters, So Do Facts

As chair of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, Rep. Leslie Osborn was one of the legislature’s budget negotiators earlier this year. She used that position to make the case for a litany of tax increases, claiming that Oklahomans are “tired of us doing things the way we’ve always done them.” This begs the question: what has the state been doing?

As one of the most conservative states when it comes to election results, some might assume that the Oklahoma legislature continually cuts taxes. In fact, the state ranks 36th in per capita tax collections. A study shows that Oklahoma historically has had an above average tax burden compared to the rest of the nation. While there have been some state tax cuts, Jonathan Small has shown that the legislature has also increased revenue.

Despite changes in tax laws and fluctuations in revenue, what has remained constant year after year has been the increase in state government spending. According to the data from Oklahoma’s most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), state government has increased spending in 22 of the last 23 years. Despite recessions in 2008 and 2015, when many Oklahoma families had to make tough choices, Oklahoma government continued to spend.

During the same interview Leslie Osborn said that “more than ever the message and the meaning is going to matter more.” Message matters, but it is imperative they be not only sincere, but also based on facts. Oklahoma government has been growing, not shrinking. People might question the priorities in the budget or in how agencies spend money, but the total burden on Oklahomans is higher than ever.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court opinion striking down SB 845 states “by strictly limiting the Legislature’s ability to enact laws that generate additional revenue—the people’s preference that when revenues shrink, so too does their government.” This is the people’s will as expressed in the Oklahoma Constitution. Maybe the state should try doing things this way?

R3publicans/BLS: Americans Spend More on Taxes Than Food and Clothing Combined

By Terence P. Jeffrey | August 30, 2017 | 12:18 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) – Americans on average spent more on taxes in 2016 than they did on food and clothing combined, according to data released this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (BLS)

The same data also shows that in three years—from 2013 to 2016—the average tax bill for Americans increased 41.13 percent.

read more at https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/bls-average-family-tax-bill-increased-411-4-years

summary via R3publican

The McCarville report released this news… ​”Multiple sources close to the recent budget negotiations have confirmed that Governor Fallin and House Democrats are nearing agreement on a billion-dollar revenue bargain. The McCarville Report received a document with the secret details of their back-room budget talks.After the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the tobacco “fee […]

Read the full article at Oklahoma’s Political News service, www.SoonerPolitics.org .

  Oklahoma’s statist politicians of both parties are at odds about where any more taxes should be confiscated. Liberty-minded politicians are trying to limit the oppressive powers of the state by only funding core constitutional mandates.  But they could all find a consensus in the regulating of the current cannabis industry which operates as a black market and pays no taxes at all.  Now, the true prohibitionists will oppose this idea in their sel […]

Read the full article at Oklahoma’s Political News service, www.SoonerPolitics.org .

Small: Misleading statements by Osborn, Boren are harmful

Free Market Friday: Misleading statements harmful
Former House Appropriations and Budget Chair Leslie Osborn recently stated Oklahoma is “50th in the nation in tax collections.” Calling for more tuition and fee increases on working Oklahoma families, University of Oklahoma President David Boren made a similar dead-last claim regarding state support for higher education.

Despite Boren’s claims, the actual data show that Oklahoma ranks 31st in total state support for higher education. When adjusted for cost of living, on a per capita basis Oklahoma actually ranks 26th in state support for higher education.

Just as the actual data contradict President Boren’s claim, the undisputed data from the United States Census Bureau contradict Rep. Osborn’s statements, proving that we are far from being the lowest-taxed state.

Regarding Osborn’s assertion, the actual data show Oklahoma is not 50th in the nation. According to the latest available data from the Census Bureau, Oklahoma collects more in state taxes than Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Thus, Oklahoma ranks 31st, not 50th. Per capita, Oklahoma ranks 38th in tax collections. When adjusted for cost of living, Oklahoma ranks 36th in per capita tax collections.

What’s really astonishing is that the state managed to collect this level of revenue despite being in a recession while most states were not. Oklahoma lost 21,800 energy and manufacturing jobs, resulting in a loss of more than $13 billion in taxable income. Oklahomans reduced purchases subject to sales tax and use tax to the tune of $4.1 billion just to survive, according to available Oklahoma Tax Commission data. Given this, state government should not complain, and Oklahomans should be thanked for their sacrifice.

Throughout the 2017 legislative session, tax consumers tried to get lawmakers and the public to support more than $2 billion in tax increases. Despite these attempts, no tax increases were constitutionally passed by the Legislature.

It’s understandable why tax consumers are working so hard to get taxpayers to believe the 50th and dead-last mantra: They want Oklahomans to be in the psychological condition to support and accept massive tax increases.

While I believe Rep. Osborn cares about Oklahoma, misleading statements from public officials such as Osborn and Boren are harmful to efforts to find viable, long-term solutions.

Jonathan Small serves as president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (www.ocpathink.org). This column originally ran in the Journal Record.

Muskogee Politico: Oklahoma Supreme Court strikes down cigarette tax

In a swift and unanimous decision, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the Cigarette Tax Smoking Cessation Fee passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Fallin violated the Oklahoma Constitution.

Here’s the summary from the opinion (which can be read in full at this link):

Petitioners, who are manufacturers, wholesalers, and consumers of cigarettes, challenged Senate Bill 845, alleging that it is a revenue bill enacted outside of the procedure mandated in Article V, Section 33 of the Oklahoma Constitution. The parties agree that the passage of SB 845 did not comply with Article V, Section 33; so the case turns on whether SB 845 is the kind of “revenue bill” that Article V, Section 33 governs. Applying the test we have utilized since 1908, we conclude that the primary purpose of Sections 2, 7, 8, and 9 of SB 845 is to raise new revenue for the support of state government through the assessment of a new $1.50 excise tax on cigarettes and that, in doing so, SB 845 levies a tax in the strict sense. As such, Sections 2, 7, 8, and 9 of SB 845 comprise a revenue bill enacted in violation of Article V, Section 33 and are unconstitutional.

Continue reading: http://www.muskogeepolitico.com/2017/08/oklahoma-supreme-court-strikes-down.html

  Rep Eric Proctor published this response to today’s Supreme Court Ruling, whereby the Tobacco Tax increase was struct down for violating constitutional requirements.   “Only if somebody would’ve said this was unconstitutional during the legislative session…..  It’s time to restore the gross production tax. No more free passes for the most wealthy industry in the world at the expense of our children, teachers, senior citizens, healthcare and public […]

Read the full article at Oklahoma’s Political News service, www.SoonerPolitics.org .

Rep Jason Murphey continues his weekly series on the 2017 session of the legislature…. 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 buy into and own key parts of the tax i […]

Read the full article at Oklahoma’s Political News service, www.SoonerPolitics.org .