OCPAC: Is Jari Askins More Conservative Than Mary Fallin?

++ AGENDA FOR THIS WEEK’S MEETING ++ HOWARD HOUCHEN ENDORSED BY OCPAC ++ DANGEROUS FINAL WEEK BECAUSE OF WEAK REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP ++ ANNOUNCEMENTS ++ IS JARI ASKINS MORE CONSERVATIVE THAN MARY FALLIN? ++ THE OKLAHOMAN’S CONFUSION OVER TAXES AND FEES ++ OCPAC MEMBERSHIP UP-DATE ++ AGENDA FOR THIS WEEK’S MEETING Our 12 noon luncheon for Wednesday May 26th will be held at Italiano’s restaurant, 4801 North Lincoln in OKC. This week’s program will feature the two Republican candidates for the State Treasurer’s office. Former State Senator Owen Laughlin (R-Woodward) was the first to announce then Ken Miller (R-Edmond) followed. Laughlin was term limited out 2 years ago and Miller still has 6 years left, but has decided to run for a state wide office. We will certainly be looking for an understanding of the job of the Treasurer and how those duties differ from those of lawmakers. ++ HOWARD HOUCHEN ENDORSED BY OCPAC As I predicted in last week’s e-mail, I thought it would be a difficult decision to endorse a candidate for the 2nd Congressional district. First let me say, all of the candidates were well spoken and for the most part had good answers to our questions. Any one of the 4 candidates would make a better Congressman than Dan Boren, if for no other reason than not to vote for or empower Nancy Pelosi to continue as the Speaker of the House. All four candidates receives several votes, but the two receiving the largest number of votes were Howard Houchen and then Charles Thompson. The result of the run-off was that all of the votes that had gone for Dan Arnett and Daniel Edmonds then went to Howard Houchen and Mr. Thompson kept his same number of votes. I have talked with several of our members that chose Howard and the following are some of the reasons he won the endorsement. First, his answers to the questions were very good. Second, he showed passion in his speech and answers, even a little anger as to what is going on in Washington. Not anger in the sense of losing control, but in the sinse of a willingness to go to Washington and mix it up rather than be a go along to get along type of Congressman. Third, Mr. Thompson has a strong military background, but Mr. Houchen has worked in a variety of countries for several years and is very familiar with customs and cultures having traveled to over 50 nations in his lifetime. Geopolitical expertise is perhaps more important for a Congressman to know than military expertise, though both are important and vital. I believe the final issue was that Mr. Houchen, having raied over $60,000, has been able to amass more than 3 times the funds of any of the other 3 candidates. You can have the best message and be the most pleasant person in the world, but if you don’t have the funds or the grass-roots support to get your message out, you just have a very hard time in becoming a viable candidate. Congressman Boren already has raised over a million dollars. While the Republican challenger doesn’t have to match that money, dollar for dollar, the candidate will need a sufficient amount of dollars to become viable. Any Republican proving themselves to be viable through the primaries, will see many dollars flowing into their campaign for the general elections. I do believe there will be a primary run-off after July 27th as each of these candidates will have a particular base of support. ++ DANGEROUS FINAL WEEK BECAUSE OF WEAK REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP The final week of the legislative session looks to be a nightmare for limited government Oklahomans, folks who want efficiency in government and for government to live within its proper bounds. After looking over several pages of agency cuts and then the horrific amount of new revenues (fee and tax increases) it is apparent the Democrats have outmaneuvered Republican leadership in the legislature. I would suggest the primary weak link is House Speaker Chris Benge (R-Tulsa). I shall try to paint a speculative picture of what went on behind closed doors as Governor Henry and Republican leaders in the House and Senate worked to craft a budget. I believe the Governor and his Democrat buddies in the legislature wanted to cut as little as possible, especially among their favored friends in education and health care. They wanted to spend as much of the newly printed federal stimulus dollars and rainy day funds as possible this year to moderate the cuts. Putting off more severe cuts that will likely be needed next year will make them look good and then put the pressure on a Republican Governor and Republican controlled legislature to either make larger cuts or raise even more new taxes. Of course another way to avoid more cuts this year was to raise taxes and then of course call them fees. To get the Republicans to go along with their plan, the Democrat legislators threatened to lock down on any emergency clause vote which would cause the laws to be delayed and thus make the budget not work out. In addition, there was the threat to uphold a veto by the Governor. Now, the following is how I imagine the response went to such threats in the Republican House caucus. Probably a few of the conservative House Republicans suggested to call their hand. It was probably a call to stand fast on conservative principles of no more tax increases and set spending cuts based on priorities of efficiency and proper functions of government. If the Democrats want to lock down and force us into an expensive special session, let the Republicans make the case to the people of Oklahoma that it is the Democrats that are responsible for wasting money and refusing to be responsible in a tough economic environment. At that time I can only imagine that the bastion courage, the man of consensus building rather than leadership, Speaker Chris Benge, spoke softly and said, now boys and girls, we can’t take any chances in an election year. We don’t want to rock the boat, it would be better to go along and get along, to be bi-partisan in the eyes of the Oklahoma voters. Remember, we want to win the Governor’s seat and increase our numbers in the legislature. Also, we should respect our RINO (Republicans In Name Only) members like Representative Cox (R-Grove) who wants to add a 1% tax on a health care claims paid by insurance companies so we can leverage those new tax dollars to get more newly printed federal government green stamps (dollars) to redistribute to people in Oklahoma. Remember the future, we need to win win win and keep our power. Be cautious don’t take any chances. Don’t go out and sell the ideas of low taxes and liberty like we talk about in our campaign literature and is a part of our Republican platform. Just go along to get along, don‘t make ripples, just be kind and friendly like me. Folks the real people to watch in this process besides your own personal Representative and Senator is Representative Chris Steele (R- Shawnee) and Senator Brian Bingman (R-Sapulpa). These are the men most likely to be the next leaders in the legislature. Maybe it is time to start asking our own State Representatives and State Senators who they intend to vote for when it comes to choosing leadership. Maybe the selection of leadership will become as important to the voters as the other issues they wrestle with at the legislature? ++ ANNOUNCEMENTS * TUESDAY EVENING - MOORE AREA - The central Oklahoma chapter of Americans For Fair Taxation will hold a meeting at the Moore Public Library (225 South Howard) this Tuesday evening, starting at 7:00 p.m. Mr. Elza Jones will be the main speaker. For more information log on to www.fairtax.org or call (405) 392-4324 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (405) 392-4324      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or 517-7245. * TUESDAY EVENING - OKC AREA - Don Powers, attorney at law, will begin another 6 week presentation of information about our U.S. Constitution at the H&H gun range on the South side of I-40 and just West of I-44. The class starts at 6:00 and runs until 7:30 p.m. for the next 6 Tuesdays. I was able to attend this past Friday evening at Fairview Baptist and it was most interesting. Rather than going Article by Article, Don was relating a tremendous vision through quotes and stories about the heart and intentions of our founders as they crafted that great document. Many of our founder’s warnings are upon us today. Don makes it clear that the responsibility for good government in our nation, rests squarely upon the shoulders of those who call themselves Christians. I urge folks to make every effort to attend these classes if at all possible. ++ IS JARI ASKINS MORE CONSERVATIVE THAN MARY FALLIN? The short answer to that question is NO. However, according to a recent article in the Oklahoman titled: “3 candidates call immigration a federal issue”, Askins conveys a more conservative understanding of the immigration issue when it comes to a “States Rights” perspective. When asked about the Arizona law and possible efforts by local lawmakers to promote Arizona plus legislation, Edmondson basically said we should focus on ways to improve our economy. Don’t get involved and run the risk of having to spend money in a lawsuit. It was reported that U.S. Representative Mary Fallin said: Oklahoma legislators are acting out of frustration over the federal government’s not dealing with immigration reform. She said immigration reform is a federal issue. “For years we have tried (wah wah wah bla bla bla, emphasis mine) to get the U.S. Congress to address more border security, more funding for border security guards, the use of more technology,” she said. “We have to do a better job of controlling our borders, of putting in the resources for border security and immigration enforcement.” Now folks those are really safe words for a Republican Congressperson to say, as we have been trying to deal with this in Washington for years now. We really need to do a better job in Washington. These poor little lawmakers back here in Oklahoma are just acting out of frustration. I guess Mary just wants us to wait on Washington a little longer. Don’t do anything in the state to take our future into our own hands, just HOPE and DEPEND on CHANGE in Washington to take care of the problem. While Askins remarks were that Oklahoma’s existing immigration laws are sufficient, she went on to say that “Arizona’s legislation is just another example of the frustration that Washington has not stepped forward with a plan.” She also said, “Oklahoma’s House Bill 1804 was also a reaction to the lack of action from federal officials. (now pay close attention to these conservative words) This ought to be a wake- up call to Congress. I believe states will continue to enact their own legislation until Congress acts on its own.” Jari Askins gets it and it is so true that the more the federal government refuses to correctly solve this horrific problem, the more states are going to exercise their sovereignty as a state to solve these problems Randy Brogdon was out of town but contacted later, he said he wanted to wait on a comment until he had an opportunity to read the Arizona law. He latter issued a statement after reading the law (what a novel idea) saying several points of the Arizona law are already a part of HB 1804 of which he supported. He also said he certainly supports Arizona’s efforts. Folks, there has been a slow invasion going on for several years now. An invasion that is abusing American citizens who are unprotected from people dumping on and destroying their property as well as making life a nightmare for them. American citizens are being squeezed out of their homes, neighborhoods and states by an ever increasing numbers of invaders who speak another language and have different cultural mores and values. People flooding into parts of these United States, not wanting to become Americans, not wanting to assimilate, but rather bring the corruption of their culture with them. Not only do the states have a right to deal with these problems, it is a necessity that they do so. It appears that Senator Brogdon and Jari Askins are the ones that best understand that. It also appears that Drew Edmondson and Mary Fallin are lacking in this important issue. ++ THE OKLAHOMAN’S CONFUSION OVER TAXES AND FEES This past Thursday the Oklahoman ran an editorial called “Possibilities: Could provider fee survive a challenge?” The editorial couched what I believe is the Oklahoman’s desire to raise revenues by adding what they suggest is a fee of 1% on claims paid by insurance companies. They couched the editorial in terms, that if South Carolina could finally raise the tax on tobacco, maybe the Oklahoma legislature could raise a fee that would surely be called a tax by its opponents. Sound confusing, hopefully I can shed some light on the issue. In 1991 the citizens of Oklahoma passed State Question 640 which did the following: It said the legislature could not raise taxes without a 75% super majority of support in both chambers of the legislature or the proposal would have to go to a vote of the people. The measure only put restrictions upon taxes, it did not prohibit the ability of the legislature to raise fees. What 640 did not do was DEFINE the difference between a tax and a fee. As a result, anytime the legislature has wanted more revenues, they call revenue increases “fees” and thus get around the need for a 75% super majority or a vote of the people. Though Senator Brogdon and Representative Wesselhoft have tried to introduce legislation to define the difference, they have not met with success. Not until last year when Oklahoma’s taxpayer watchdog, Jerry Fent, took a case before the State Supreme Court. He won a case that did a fairly good job of defining the difference. If we ever want to have good government it will be very important to know the difference, especially if we are ever successful in restructuring our tax codes. It is such an important issue that it is one of the 10 questions on our legislative candidate survey and I might add, one that very few candidates know the difference. Please pay close attention. A FEE is revenue raised from a particular activity or upon a certain item (such as a car tag) and all the money raised must be spent ONLY on the regulation or support of that activity. Example, all monies paid to use our turnpikes are fees as all those monies are used ONLY to pay off bonded indebtedness, repair the roads and pay for their operations. The wildlife department is similar, as all monies spent for licenses and specialty stamps or tags are used to fund the wildlife department and thus those revenues are fees. However, if some of those monies were to be used for roads or education, those revenues would no longer be deemed a fee but rather a tax. Taxes are revenues raised from a particular activity or upon a certain item. However, the money can be put into the general fund to be used for things other than the support of the activity from which the revenue was derived. Thus, if the revenues derived from when we purchase a gallon of gas, our auto tags, our registration fees or driver’s licenses were to all be used to build roads, bridges and pay for the highway patrol and the overhead at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, then all those revenues would be considered as fees. However, when they are diverted to build the weather school at OU or the bio-terror lab at OSU and the support of local school districts, then they are in actuality a tax. The reason Representative Doug Cox’s (R-Grove) proposal is a tax and not a fee is that it forces the people who pay for health insurance to be charged higher premiums because when the insurance company pays out more it will raise rates to compensate for the increase. The legislation will have all insurance companies to pay 1% of any claim to state government, not to be used to support health care for all, but to support the health care of people who don’t pay for insurance. Thus it is not a fee, but rather a tax. Folks, this was a demand by the Democrats who trusted one of their buddies (Representative Doug Cox) to carry the legislation as a Republican to help its chances for passage. Of course Cox wasn’t alone in his efforts as a large number of the usual suspects helped. Lawmakers such as Lee Denny (R-Cushing) Don Armes (R-Lawton), Eddie Fields (R-Wynona), Gary Banz (R-Midwest City), Kris Steele (Christian Socialist Progressive Republican from Shawnee) Shane Jett (R-Tecumseh) Ann Cody (R-Lawton) and a few others voted along with Cox and the Democrats for passage. However, the good news is that it didn’t get close to the 75 super majority, so if the Senate doesn’t kill the measure, then look for another lawsuit by Mr. Fent, a truly great Oklahoman and great American. ++ OCPAC MEMBERSHIP UPDATE We are now nearing 250 dues paying members for this year and we are just nearing the end of May. Our old record of 217 members has been blown out of the water, and all I can say is thanks to the many folks who have decided to support our efforts. If you have not joined as yet, please follow the instructions below. I look forward to seeing everyone this Wednesday. Charlie Meadows Charliemeadows7@gmail.com