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When a new legislator, I worked to learn some of the more hidden and less-than-transparent aspects in the way Oklahoma politicians spent our taxpayer dollars.

This wasn’t easy as even some legislators are left in the dark regarding the mechanics of h…

Call your Representative. Ask them to sign the letter demanding answers from the IRS.

Top IRS officials have admitted that conservative political groups were inappropriately flagged for harassment during the 2012 election cycle. On Friday, May 10th, the Associated Press published a disturbing report of comments from Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax exempt groups.  She admitted that at least 75 organizations were singled out because they included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications for tax exempt status. 

The Marketplace Fairness Act is Unfair

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Jim Bridenstine has decided to oppose the Marketplace Fairness Act (HR 684).  After researching the proposed legislation and conferring with various concerned constituents, the Congressman explained his stand:Under current law…

OK-SAFE, Inc. – What can you buy with $14,500?  A small car, a boat, or perhaps a garden makeover from Reader’s Digest. In Oklahoma $14,500 can buy you a piece of legislation. After looking into SB 804 by Marlatt/Jackson, Creating the Affordable Housing Act, allowing tax credits for builders for certain low-income housing, it is […]

The Oklahoma Constitution reports that the Native American Cultural and Educational Authority is returning to the feeding trough in their fourth attempt to get the state legislature to increase funding the NACEA claims is needed to complete the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum.

Oklahoma taxpayers have already provided $63 million for the construction and more than $26 million to the agency for operations and debt service. Last November, the Native American Cultural and Educational Authority (NACEA), the state agency created to develop the facility, announced their plan: “We are currently preparing to return to the Oklahoma Legislature to pursue funding for The Center. We will be seeking $40 million to match pledges of $40 million in private, tribal and local government support.” That would bring the total price of the project, including federal, state, local, and private funds, to $173 million, not including future interest on the bonds.

State bond debt payments on the project have been running $5.5 million per year.  If the additional funding is approved, this will rise to almost $9 million.

As with so many other government projects, this one hasn’t worked out as planned.  The initial bond was meant to cover the full costs of the project, but the money ran out in 2007 after completing the parking lot and the shell of the main building.  It has remained in this embarrassing state ever since.  No doubt, thousands of families anguish, year after year, wondering when the AICCM will be completed, so that they can schedule their long-anticipated family trip.  “Sorry, kids.  Not this year.”

I have thought of a solution.  Anyone who has driven for more than an hour on the highways of Oklahoma has seen tribal casinos in varying sizes, ranging from a small mobile home to a Vegas-style colossus, such as Downstream Casino, where I dined last night.  None of these structures required taxpayer funding.  Some of the largest did not start out large, but had humble beginnings.  As the slots revenue poured in, a temporary structure would be replaced with a small permanent structure, and it would then be replaced with a larger structure, and then you’d suddenly start seeing construction cranes.

Let us try this approach with the AICCM.  Start our with a small facility — something like The Standing Bear Museum and Education Center in Ponca City.  If the tribes are so inclined, perhaps they could chip in some of their casino revenues.  Then when visitors break down the doors to get at all of that wonderfully displayed American Indian culture, maybe the NACEA will be justified in building a larger facility.

Plan B would be to fill the existing incomplete shell with slot machines.  The existing debt would be paid off in a matter of months.

18 Votes and a Vision

This is an amazing number for several reasons. I am not a long time party activist. Indeed, I took a very long break – from 1995 to 2011 – with almost zero political activity. I spent that time as a “normal person”, getting married, finishing college, having two different careers and starting a third, and creating four children with my wife. I did some things right and some things wrong, but just tried to make my way in the world. I’m a dad, an employee, and a taxpaying citizen of Oklahoma.

Now if we can simply terminate the OHIET to really mean something — that is the Oklahoma Health Insurance Exchange Trust — a bill which failed to make it out of committee so far — ask Senator Nathan Dahm about that! He tried; My question is “What is Representative Ritz doing in the house on this matter? Nullification is easy in Oklahoma if we will simply terminate the trust. Republicans need to step up and do what needs to be done in committee and on the floor. The people are watching and not amused with anything less than stopping this bad boy legislation permanently. Oh yes and don’t accept Medicaid strings and federal funds either!/sc

New – OK Treasury Online Checkbook

OK-SAFE, Inc. – The state’s checkbook is now online.  Currently, expenditures and collections by functions of government or agency are listed, plus payments by the Treasurer’s office are viewable.  The Treasurer’s press release further states that “Work is also underway to incorporate the receipt of federal funds into the automated reporting system.” One can only […]

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