I bet you can think of 20 people you know who complain a lot and never contact their legislators directly. Non-voting Oklahomans and Oklahomans who don’t hold their elected officials accountable have TAUGHT our legislators to ignore us! The only remedy is to show them that we are paying attention time and time again.
Last week, someone asked me, “Why bother calling when the legislators won’t listen”
- Because some of them DO listen and
- Because the others never will listen if they can trust that WE won’t pay attention.
Last week in the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, the Senate’s versions of the tax cut (SB 1246) passed 15-10. But 4 Republicans and 6 Democrats voted against the tax cut. Now SB 1246 and its companion measure, HB 2508 go to the floor. SB 1246 has its title on and could go to a final vote in the NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS. The time for action is NOW!
Ask your legislators to vote NO on SB 1246 and HB 2508 and stop these bills before they reach the governor for her signature. Here are some suggested talking points:
- Don’t cut my taxes, fund my services! It’s better for Oklahomans and better for the economy to keep the revenue for schools, public health and safety, and other important services.
- Triggering automatic tax cuts whenever revenue grows is irresponsible. Oklahoma could face a natural disaster, spiking health care costs, court mandates, or who knows what. Lawmakers can’t predict the future, so they shouldn’t be putting the budget on auto-pilot.
- A minimal revenue increase is the wrong trigger. We should have no tax cuts until we’re reducing our class sizes, paying teachers and state employees adequately, and maintaining public buildings. Make it personal! Can you think of other benchmarks for Oklahoma to meet before we cut taxes again?
Right now the legislators TRUST Oklahomans to stay out of politics. We usually don’t vote and we surely don’t watch how they vote. According to a study put out Tuesday by the Pew Charitable Trusts, Oklahoma ranked 49th for voter turnout and 46th for voter registration and lacked in online voter information tools. We haven’t really begun to try to fully participate in democracy.
While you are talking to your legislators, remind them that they have options. They want you to like them, they want to take care of their constituents, and they can be just as confused by all the swirling bills. Point them toward some of Oklahoma’s revenue options here and SPECIFICALLY remind them that Oklahomans want to curb the unnecessary tax breaks for horizontal drilling.
For more information about both the tax cut bills that are queued up to go to the floor, you can check out this OK Policy blog post and the Together OK fact sheet on protecting our revenue base.
We are building momentum to turn around Oklahoma. Whatever happens this session, we are making a difference in changing the debate. Thank you for being one of the few who gets involved, or for doing your part to make the few into the many!