16 Dec

Inman Contends State Revenue Failure Self-Inflicted

OKLAHOMA CITY – House Democratic Leader Scott Inman issued the following statement today after the Office of Management and Enterprise Services announced a state revenue failure requiring appropriated state agencies to take mid-year budget cuts, and reported that the budget hole next year will be almost $901 million.

“The Republican-controlled Legislature helped create this financial crisis by cutting over $1 billion in income taxes since 2004, coupled with enactment of nearly $2 billion in tax credits and exemptions.

Just a week ago Republican State Treasurer Ken Miller described repeated reductions in the state income tax as ‘devastatingly irresponsible’ considering the current funding status of core services.

Nevertheless, in two weeks Oklahoma will experience the first tax cut in state history to be enacted at a time of budget deficits. House Democrats tried repeatedly to postpone or repeal that tax cut, but every Republican in the House spurned our attempts.

The $188 million state budget gap of 2014 tripled to a budget deficit of $611 million in 2015, and the latest projection is a deficit that will be half again higher: $900.8 million.

The GOP-controlled Legislature began cutting core state services when oil was commanding $100 a barrel. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority has had to slash $446 million from its budget in the past five years, adversely affecting low-income families and health care providers. Public education in Oklahoma has experienced the deepest cuts of any state in the nation.

Republicans campaigned on a platform of fiscal responsibility, but instead they have presided over fiscal insanity.

It’s long past time for this state’s Republican leaders to stop governing by a failed political philosophy and begin to govern with an understanding of political reality.

It’s disingenuous to wring one’s hands in despair when the house is on fire, if you helped light the match.”


Mike W. Ray

Media Director, House Democratic Caucus

07 Dec

Welcome to Monet, Oklahoma

Welcome to Monet, Oklahoma

Perryman, DavidBy David Perryman, Oklahoma House of Representatives, District 56

Claude Monet painted in the 19th and 20th century and was among the leaders of the French Impressionist movement. Monet’s open air approach and the fact that he dwelt more on color and light than linear perspective resulted in a style of art that most believe is best viewed from a distance.
Not only does distance make the subject of the art appear more “whole,”, the distance separates the viewer from the more abstract components of the painting that are often described as rough swatches or loose splashes of color that appears somewhat disjointed on close inspection.
Appreciating a Monet from across the room is somewhat similar to checking one’s cattle from a mile high flyover. The cattle may or may not be there, but the view is sure nice.

Some folks regularly treat Oklahoma like a Monet. They allow urban legends and lofty statistics to tell them how good or how bad things really are in Oklahoma.

For instance, there is a temptation to feel good about the state when increases in per capita income are announced. Some of those “Monet” numbers tell us that during the 28 years from 1979 and 2007 the average income in Oklahoma rose 33.9%, just 3% behind the national income growth of all Americans during that same period.

However, the up close numbers show us that during that period and the next five years, the income of the top 1% of Oklahomans grew by 143.2% while the income of Oklahoma’s other 99% grew by only 8%. That means that of all income growth from 1979 to 2012, 67.9% of it went to the top 1% while all of the other 99% shared only 32.1% of the income growth during that period.

Today, on average, it takes $3.28 to purchase what we could purchase for $1.00 in 1979.

To put it in simpler terms, back in 1977, during my hamburger flipping days, a Sonic Burger cost 65 cents (and a dime extra for the cheese). Fries were 40 cents and a quarter bought a Coke on ice. Everything together was a bargain at $1.40. Today, that same combo costs $6.11, for an increase of 436%.

In 1977, a person earning the minimum wage of $2.30 per hour, had to work 36 minutes to purchase that Sonic Combo. Today, a minimum wage employee must work 51 minutes or 41% longer for that meal.

Monet, Oklahoma is really beautiful from a mile in the air, but caring enough to understand the real economic difficulties faced by working families who often don’t know where their next meal is coming from, are unable to afford medical care and don’t know if they will be able to keep their children warm tonight, requires routinely getting up close and personal.

There is no time like the present holiday season for us to make going outside our comfort zone a part of our lives.

Your comments are welcome at 1-800-522-8502 or at [email protected]

30 Nov

Statement on Native American Heritage Month

The Oklahoma Democratic Party released the following statement recognizing November as Native American Heritage month:

Native Americans are woven into the very fabric of everything that makes us Oklahoma. We reflect on the fact that Oklahoma’s statehood was established not as two independent states, but as one whole, to bring us together with Native Americans so that we would be stronger through the governance and rich traditions that had come before us. During the month of November we recognize the contributions Native Americans have made throughout our history and that have paved the way for a brighter future.

The Oklahoma Democratic Party vows to continue our work with tribal leaders to bring our state the prosperity we can achieve though hard work and inclusion. Together we can make possible the opportunities for every Oklahoman to have a future that allows all citizens the chance to build a life worthy of their hopes and dreams and that empowers the next generation of Native leaders.


17 Nov

Oklahoma Democratic Party Welcomes Vice President Joe Biden to Oklahoma

Oklahoma Democrats from across the state will come together today to welcome Vice President Joe Biden to Tulsa for an afternoon reception. Although the Vice President could be many other places, he is taking the time to make a stop in Oklahoma in the midst of a hectic campaign season.

The Vice President is a visionary and one of the greatest progressive leaders of our time, never failing to demonstrate what true statesmanship looks like even in rough times. The work of the Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden on behalf of all Americans is an example of what can be done when you have passion for what you do – even in politics.
The Oklahoma Democratic Party looks forward to the Vice President’s continued guidance for many years to come and hopes for the opportunity to bring him back to Oklahoma in the near future.



16 Nov

Oklahoma Democratic Party Responds to Governor Fallin’s Comments Regarding Syrian Refugees

[Oklahoma City, OK, November 16, 2015] Responding to today’s news that Governor Fallin has called on President Obama to suspend accepting any additional Syrian refugees into the United States, the Oklahoma Democratic Party issued the following statement:

Terrorism is about fear – fear in our communities, of our neighbors, and of things we know little or nothing about. It is about fear that changes the very essence of who we are as individuals and as a nation. We cannot let fear overpower our compassion and love for these men, women, and children fleeing violence and leaving all that they know to come to a land unknown just for a sense of safety.
Oklahoma knows first-hand the effects of terrorism and we know that it doesn’t have to come across borders or oceans. The United States sees our own form of home-grown terrorism every time someone picks up a gun and uses it against innocents or burns down a church because their faith is different. There comes a point, however, when people are no longer able to live in fear of those around them and they run and the United States of America has always been that beacon of light and hope to the world.
The United States has one of the most rigorous refugee admittance processes in the world. There are extensive security clearances, interviews, medical screenings, “cultural orientation” classes, and more before a refugee even steps foot onto American soil. For Governor Fallin to insinuate that the Obama Administration would not go to the fullest extent to ensure the rigorous process is followed is nothing more than a partisan stunt and an intentional misleading action to further instill fear in Oklahomans.
Oklahoma Democrats trust the men and women of our Homeland Security, intelligence agencies, state department, and military who put their lives on the line every day to keep our families safe.
This is a time to join the millions around the world in prayer and extend a compassionate hand in honor of the memory of all those lost in terrorist attacks, not just in Paris, Beirut, and Kenya but all over the world. This is a time to rise above our fears and show love to our brothers and sisters facing horrific violence every day.

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