Oklahoma lawmakers continue to try to use one-time revenue to pay the state’s bills. The Rainy Day fund has been depleted during a stable economy. Republicans make up about three quarters of the Representatives and Senators and own the Governor’s office. Somehow, they still can’t get anything done.
The special session drags on. Democrats aren’t included in any negotiations.
Lawmakers can justify charging people who are working hard to make ends meet an extra six cents for every gallon of gasoline they buy, but they can’t even get the state’s Gross Production Tax to the bottom of the regional average.
With failures in both logic and leadership, the Republican Party is risking its super-majority to repay favors from the donor class at the detriment of the residents of Oklahoma who can’t afford a $5,000 donation to a campaign committee.
Republicans have to find answers beyond one-time revenue sources and cuts. The one-time funds are gone and next year, the cycle of hoping something happens to fill the budget hole begins again.
That isn’t a good plan. That isn’t stable. It is hurting the state’s education system. It is causing business owners to look elsewhere when the time comes to relocate.
We can do better. But it will take real leadership and true compromise to get it done.
Republicans talking in an echo chamber and demanding the Democrats vote for bills they didn’t negotiate is silly. House Speaker Charles McCall used “adult language” in the hallway outside the chambers when he told two Democrats they should be supporting his bill. His attitude is all you need to know about the problem.
Statesmen negotiate with people who disagree with them and reach compromises that benefit all of the people they represent – not just campaign donors.
The Oklahoma legislature is woefully lacking in statesmen. Lawmakers need to forget who their donors are and remember who they really represent.
The budget is overdue. State services are already being affected. There is no excuse for this level of partisanship and lack of performance.
Hopefully, voters remember these days in 2018.