Jamison Faught

Richardson slams Fallin's new $1B tax increase, issues challenge to Lamb

Republican gubernatorial candidate Gary Richardson sent the following press release out this afternoon, in response to a story from the McCarville Report that Governor Mary Fallin is nearing an agreement on a new $972M to $1.06B tax hike plan with the House Democrats in advance of the expected special session.

Richardson Decries Gov. Fallin’s $1 Billion Tax Increase, Calls on Todd Lamb to Take Control of the State Senate

Tulsa, OK, August 24, 2017 – Gary Richardson today called on the state legislative leaders to oppose every one of the $1 billion in new tax increases proposed by Governor Mary Fallin.  “I have said it before and will continue to say it again, we have a spending problem, not a revenue problem,” said Richardson.

“That’s why I urge Governor Fallin to heed my call to audit every state agency to identify and eliminate any wasteful spending or fraud before sticking a $1 billion tax increase to the people of Oklahoma,” said Richardson.

Richardson continued, “Additionally, I call on all of the legislative leaders to oppose any new tax increases to fill the budget gap, including the President of the Oklahoma Senate, Todd Lamb.”

Richardson then explained how the Oklahoma Lt. Governor is the one constitutionally in charge of the State Senate.  “According to Article 5, Section 28 of the State Constitution, the Lt. Governor is the one who presides over the State Senate,” said Richardson.  “I call on our Lt. Governor, Todd Lamb, to fulfill his constitutional powers as President of the Senate and block any tax increases from Governor Fallin.”

Richardson then explained how this wouldn’t be the first time a Lt. Governor has presided over the State Senate.  “Previous Lt. Governors in Oklahoma have used their constitutional powers to pass or block legislation,” said Richardson.  “It’s in the Constitution for a reason.”

Richardson continued,  “It’s time our Lt. Governor follows the State Constitution and stop these job-killing, billion dollar tax increases.”

MuskogeePolitico: Remembering Mark Costello

Today is the second anniversary of the untimely death of Labor Commissioner Mark Costello. I’ve often wondered what the Oklahoma political scene would have looked like had that fateful night turned out differently.

A stout defender of free market capitalism and conservative governance, I have a feeling that he’d have a thing or two to say about the current state of affairs in Oklahoma City and Washington, D.C

Sen. Stephanie Bice; R-Oklahoma City; Sen. Roger Thompson, R-Okemah; Sen. AJ Griffin, R-Guthrie, and Sen. Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle, discuss line-item budgeting bill at a press conference held Tuesday at the state Capitol.

Seven members of the Oklahoma State Senate have co-authored legislation aimed at increasing transparency and accountability in exactly how tax dollars are being used by the agencies receiving the vast majority of state appropriations each year. Senate Bill 875 would require the Legislature to approve line-item budgets for agencies appropriated more than $100 million in state funds.

Sen. Roger Thompson, R-Okemah, is the principal author of the legislation, co-authored by Sen. AJ Griffin, R-Guthrie; Sen. Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City; Sen. Jason Smalley, R-Stroud; Sen. Marty Quinn, R-Claremore; Sen. Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle; and Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville. Thompson, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance, said the legislation would give legislators and their constituents a clearer understanding of exactly how agencies are using their state appropriated resources, and an opportunity to redirect how those resources are allocated to prioritize the needs of citizens.

“The biggest responsibility the Legislature has is writing and passing the budget. One way or another, it impacts every single person in our state,” Thompson said. “By digging deeper and really examining all the programs, services and other expenses these major agencies are funding, the public is going to be more fully informed about how those dollars are being used, and lawmakers will have the ability to be better stewards of those dollars.”

Agencies that would be subject to this legislation include the Department of Education; CareerTech; Department of Transportation; the Oklahoma Health Care Authority; the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse; the Department of Human Services; and the Department of Corrections. While annual appropriations to Higher Education are more than $100 million, the state constitution restricts the Legislature from specifying how the appropriation is allocated.

“Line item budgeting is not a new concept. It was done through 2009 and then was ended in order to give agencies more flexibility in times of limited resources,” Thompson said. “But the bottom line is lawmakers are the representatives of the people—we are making decisions on their behalf and are accountable to them in ways state agencies are not. This is our responsibility, especially as we face continued budget challenges.”

Bridenstine to NASA? Rumors heat up

NASA Watch, a news site focused on the space agency, and Arstechnica, a tech/science news site, are both reporting that Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine will likely be announced in the coming weeks as the Trump administration’s pick for NASA Administrator.

The Deputy #NASA Admin position was decided a month ago. Administrator was decided upon a week or so later. Formal announcement in Sept

— NASA Watch (@NASAWatch) August 15, 2017

Oh yes Jim Bridenstine = #NASA Administrator and John Schumacher = Deputy Administrator

— NASA Watch (@NASAWatch)

Fallin will call special session to adjust appropriations

Governor Mary Fallin Says Special Legislative Session Necessary to Adjust State Appropriations 

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today said the Legislature must return in special session to deal with the $215 million shortfall caused by a proposed smoking cessation fee being struck down.

“No money can be spent from any state fund unless the Legislature specifically appropriates it,” said Fallin. “Let’s be clear. The director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) does not have the authority to transfer monies to the affected agencies from different sources without legislation directing him to do so.”

Article 5, Section 55 of the Oklahoma Constitution states that no money shall be paid out of the state treasury, except through an appropriation by law.

Source post

IED NAMES MARK WILLIAMS PRESIDENT

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, August 15, 2017 – The Research Institute for Economic Development (RIED) has named Mark Williams as president succeeding Susan Winchester who resigned recently to become chief-of-staff to Lt. Governor Todd Lamb. Williams joins RIED after a 36-year career with AT&T Oklahoma, serving since 2010 as Director-Legislative Affairs where he led the AT&T Oklahoma external affairs team on legislative matters at the state Capitol. Williams joined Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, now AT&T, in 1981.

“I am excited to join RIED and to work with our outstanding officers and directors as we continue to produce Oklahoma’s pre-eminent analysis of legislative voting patterns on business, job creation and economic development issues,” Williams said.  “For the past 20 years, RIED has established a respected reputation at the state Capitol, with the annual ‘RIED Report’ commonly anticipated following the end of the legislative session.  RIED’s positive impact since its inception is illustrated by the fact that legislative advocacy for business, job creation and economic growth has improved from 32% in 1998 to over 60% in 2017.”

Greg Love, RIED board chairman said, “I want to express how pleased we are to have another accomplished individual fill the position of RIED president. Mark has been involved with the state legislature for many years, and we are very confident he will do great work in his new position. Lastly, the RIED board thanks Susan Winchester, and wishes her success in her new position with Lt. Governor Lamb.”

Williams presently serves as Chairman of the Board of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits and Chair-Elect of the Oklahoma City All Sports Association.  He is the past board chairman of the American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma, the Northwest Chamber of Commerce and the Oklahoma Baptist University Alumni Association.  He has, or is currently serving on the boards of the First Tee, Leadership Oklahoma, Youth Leadership Exchange, Sooner State Games and the Urban League of Greater Oklahoma City, where he is also a Life Member.

Williams is a native Oklahoman, receiving a B.A. in Economics from Oklahoma Baptist University and a J.D. from Oklahoma City University. He is married to Carol Cathey Williams and they have two daughters and five grandchildren.

Research Institute for Economic Development was founded in 1997 and is a non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting economic growth through the evaluation of business, job and economic growth issues considered annually by the Oklahoma Legislature. RIED does not lobby issues or endorse candidates.