State’s Governor Myopic, Partisan, and Hypocritical

OKLAHOMA CITY (1 May 2017) — Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Mary Fallin issued a statement today in which she criticized House Democrats for voting against House Bill 2365 in the Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget.

HB 2365 would raise the state tax on cigarettes, now $1.03/pack, by $1.50 per pack of 20, and would dedicate the proceeds to health care.

 But HB 2365 ALSO would raise the tax on gasoline and diesel by 6 cents per gallon: to 22 cents/gallon of gasoline and 19 cents/gallon of diesel.

 The governor condemned Minority Leader Scott Inman and Democrat Reps. Ben Loring, Eric Proctor, Shane Stone and Jason Dunnington for voting “no” on HB 2365.

 Conveniently, though, Fallin failed to mention that three House Republicans — Reps. Kevin Calvey, Jason Murphey and John Bennett — also voted “no” on that bill.

 She also omitted the fact that a typical middle-class family with two vehicles would pay about $120 more per year in gas taxes if HB 2365 is enacted.

 In addition, raising motor fuels taxes in an economic swoon such as we are experiencing would inevitably deepen the doldrums, because the price of just about everything will increase.

 Mary Fallin has adamantly opposed expansion of Medicaid, which would bring in tens of millions of dollars of federal aid and would provide health insurance for thousands of Oklahomans who are uninsured.

 The governor also has been less than receptive to proposals to boost the gross production tax on oil and gas from 2% to 5% — the rate at which the “average” Oklahoman pays state income taxes — despite the fact that this is the third consecutive year our state has coped with a staggering budget shortfall.

My mother used to tell me, jokingly, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

 The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines conduct of that nature as hypocrisy: “the behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do…” Sound familiar, under the current circumstances?