14 Nov

Squandered Opportunity by Republican-Super-Majority Failed Leadership

Failed Republican Leadership

Oklahoma is in this budget mess due to the squandered opportunity and failed leadership by Republican-Super-Majority run legislature! When the Republicans continue to make promises they cannot keep, it’s time to make a change at the capitol.

"Lawmakers had plenty of sensible options for recurring revenues that could have balanced the budget responsibly. Instead, they are doubling down on one-time money and cuts. This is the inevitable but unfortunate consequence of last week’s failed vote in the House of Representatives on HB 1054.

For those fearing the worst cuts, the new budget represents a partial reprieve. Overall funding is just $30 million, or 0.4 percent, less than the budget passed in May, according to our preliminary analysis. It avoids further cuts to Common Educations, Corrections, and several other critical agencies. In addition, it mostly fills the massive shortfalls that were facing the Medicaid agency, DHS and Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. This will hopefully allow these agencies to rescind the devastating cuts they would otherwise be forced to make starting December 1st. "

See original OK Policy article by David Blatt – Squandered Opportunity

Remember this today when you head to the polls. Democrats have 3 candidates ready to commit to making that change and all it takes is for you to show up today and VOTE!

Get out and Vote BLUE Oklahoma: Chris VanLandingham HD76, Steven Vincent SD45 & Allison Ikley-Freeman SD37. We need to see Democrats turning out at the polls and VOTING! Learn more about your district candidates and share:

09 Nov

RELEASE: Oklahoma Senate Democratic Leader Issues Statement on Revenue Failure

November 8, 2017
Contact: Democratic Leader John Sparks
Capitol: (405) 521-5553

Oklahoma Senate Democratic Leader Issues Statement on Failure of ‘A+’ Revenue Package

The Oklahoma Senate Democratic Leader, Sen. John Sparks, D-Norman, issued a statement today, commenting on the failure of HB 1054x in the House today:

“Today’s failure of the ‘A+’ revenue package is undoubtedly disappointing and frustrating. However, now is not the time for us to give up and settle on cash and cuts as a short-term fix for our long-term budget problem. Now is the time for us to redouble our efforts, push forward, and find a new path to a long-term budget solution which will protect the most basic, core government functions and services.

“Today, too many members of the House decided they did not support the ‘A+’ Plan. I believe there are only three reasons for a no vote on this plan: a preference to use cash on hand to plug the current budget shortfall; a preference to further cuts to the budgets of Oklahoma’s agencies; or a preference to pass a different revenue package.

“Today, more than ever, I am certain that cash and cuts are not a viable option for our state and the future of the core government functions and services on which our most vulnerable constituents rely.

“I am convinced that we cannot just use cash on hand to continue the budgetary shell games which have flourished at the Capitol over the last decade. Just this week, our intention to use the last of our limited cash to fill our long-term budget hole triggered Moody’s to downgrade Oklahoma’s fiscal status. They noted that using the last of our cash might help for a few months, but Oklahoma’s ‘inability to pass a comprehensive and permanent solution is credit negative.’ In addition, it was reported last month that Oklahoma’s current financial situation is so bad that we are one of the three states least prepared to handle an economic recession. Using one-time cash resources to fill our budget hole may ease the pressure to truly fix our budget problem, but it does nothing but highlight our ongoing fiscal mismanagement and inability to pass a comprehensive, long-term budget solution for our state.

“I am also convinced that there is no more room for cuts to core government services. We have cut to the point where we have four-day school weeks, a reduction in the Eight-Year Transportation Plan and we are facing the elimination of the ADvantage Waiver Program, which will force thousands of senior citizens out of in-home care and into nursing homes.

“For those who do wish to implement more cuts, I am asking you to show us where you wish to do so in your own district. Don’t answer with the evasive and rhetorical ‘fraud, waste and abuse.’ Do you want to consolidate your schools or to turn four-day school weeks into three-day school weeks? Do you want to take roads and bridges in your district off the repair list permanently? Do you want to permanently close state parks or OSU Extension Offices or CareerTech Centers? Are you willing to cut funding for Meals on Wheels or senior nutrition centers or veterans hospitals? If you aren’t willing to support new revenue, now is the time to itemize, in your district, where you are willing to implement permanent, recurring cuts — not one-time cost savings.

“Finally, I am convinced that since neither cash nor cuts are responsible options for Oklahoma, the final alternative is to come back with another revenue plan in the coming days. This option is the most responsible, but it is also the one that requires the most work from us. I know we are all tired. I know we all have jobs and families who we are neglecting while we are here. But if you are a legislator, or a constituent, or a stakeholder in business which opposed today’s option, then we need you to help us put together another plan which will receive the necessary level of support from the citizens of Oklahoma and their legislators.

“We all owe it to our constituents to reject cash and cuts as our only options and continue to work toward a long-term budget solution which protects the most basic, core government functions and services without balancing the budget on the backs of the poor and the vulnerable. This is what our constituents demand of us and what they deserve from each and every one of us, with no exceptions and no excuses.”

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09 Nov

RELEASE: Democratic Caucus Urges Path Forward

Nov. 9, 2017

Contact: State Rep. Steve Kouplen
Phone: (405) 557-7306

Democratic Caucus Urges Path Forward

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Mediocre “Bargain,” House Bill 1054X, failed yesterday due to the efforts of House Republican leadership. The House Democrats delivered over 80 percent of its caucus on yesterday’s vote because Democrats trusted Republican leadership would deliver on what was promised time and time again—75 percent of its own caucus.

House Republican leadership failed to deliver Republican votes to protect children, the disabled and the elderly from devastating cuts while rank and file members supported the measure. Twelve committee chairs and 10 vice chairs voted against the measure.

“It is disturbing to see Republican members who have been designated by House Republican leadership as leaders in public education, veterans, public health and long-term care oppose a measure that would provide funding for impending loss of critical services to their constituents,” said Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman. “If House Republican leadership is intent on passing revenue raising measures, they alone have the ability to leverage the votes of their leadership team.”

After a heated exchange via press release in July 2017, House leadership made a change in chairmanship in the House Committee on Appropriations & Budget over a disagreement regarding cuts to the Department of Human Services prior to the Supreme Court decision on the cigarette fee. This action shows Republican leadership is clearly willing and able to remove committee chairs when there is a disagreement. The fact that similar changes have not been made to committee chairs who voted against HB1054X illustrates Republican leadership never intended for this bill to pass in the first place.

House Democrats are now urging Republican leadership to find a path forward by renegotiating a truly Grand Bargain. The House Democrats stand ready to deliver 100 percent of its members for a true Grand Bargain — a revenue package that includes a restoration of the gross production tax and the income tax restoration on high-earners that was included in the Restoring Oklahoma Plan.

“We look forward to working with our colleagues across the aisle to come together on this Grand Bargain that will prevent impending immoral cuts and put our state on a more solid fiscal path in the years to come,” said Cyndi Munson, D-Oklahoma City.


08 Nov

RELEASE: House Dems Release Statement on Failure of House Bill 1054X

Nov. 8, 2017

Contact: State Rep. Emily Virgin
Phone: (405) 557-7323

House Dems Release Statement on Failure of House Bill 1054X

OKLAHOMA CITY — On behalf of the House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Emily Virgin released the following statement on today’s vote on House Bill 1054X.

“Since the beginning of this extraordinary session, Republican House leadership has told Oklahomans that they have the 75 percent of their caucus needed to raise revenue, and it was the Democrats who needed to come on board with their support. Today, after more than 80 percent of our caucus held their nose and voted yes for this far from ideal revenue bill, we found out this simply isn’t true. The House Republican Caucus delivered 48 votes or less than 67 percent of their caucus.

House Republicans have once again failed to deliver the leadership necessary to bring an end to this special session and give certainty to the most vulnerable of Oklahomans. Once again, Republicans have gone out of their way to provide false hope to teachers and state employees desperate for a raise, and continue to put the wants and desires of select oil and gas companies over the millions of Oklahomans affected by this body’s inability to fix the budget problem it created.

Throughout this session, we have heard many promises from Republican leadership, and time and time again, those promises have been broken. We have seen a committee chairman refuse to vote his own bill out of committee, and we have seen the author of a teacher pay raise bill refuse to support the bill needed to fund those raises.

This caucus stands ready to reverse irresponsible income tax cuts. We stand ready to make oil and gas pay their fair share. And we stand ready to bring an end to this special session.”


08 Nov

Millennial Wins in Virginia and New Jersey

DNC on Millennial Wins in Virginia and New Jersey

DNC Vice Chair and New York Assemblymember Michael Blake and DNC Secretary Jason Rae issued the following statement on the Democratic millennials elected last night:

“We want to congratulate the Democratic millennial leaders who were elected to state legislature seats in Virginia and New Jersey last night, many of whom flipped critical seats from red to blue. Each of these progressive leaders is proof positive that when we stand up to Donald Trump’s divisive, hate-fueled politics and lead with our values and a vision focused on jobs, healthcare, and opportunity for all, we can accomplish anything. From Vin Gopal in New Jersey, who flipped New Jersey’s long-time Republican 11th district, to Danica Roem in Virginia, the transgender candidate who defeated a pioneer of the anti-transgender bathroom bill and flipped Virginia’s 13th district, millennials delivered blow after blow to the Trump agenda and win after win for progressive values. As millennial DNC officers, we understand firsthand that it is not easy to step up to run, but, when we win, we inspire others into public service to help people. The new DNC understands that millennials deserve a real voice in the DNC, on everything from training to organizing, not just a symbolic seat at the table. We can’t wait to see what these new leaders accomplish. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for, and we are ready to lead.”

  • Millennial Leaders Elected on November 7, 2017:
  • Vin Gopal, New Jersey State Senate 11th District
  • Jennifer Carol Foy, Virginia House of Delegates 2nd District
  • Chris Hurst, Virginia House of Delegates 12th District
  • Danica Roem, Virginia House of Delegates 13th District
  • Schuyler Van Vulkenburg, Virginia House of Delegates 72nd District
  • Jerrauld Jones, Virginia House of Delegates 89th District