OKGOP Weekly Update: October 24-28:
Rebuilding Oklahoma's Education Pt. 2
Greetings Fellow Republicans,
The Oklahoma Republican Party is dedicated to showcasing positive changes in our state, which were enacted by Republican Leadership, since taking control of the Capitol just over a decade ago. In the next two weeks, we will focus on issues that have have spurred development throughout the state.
Education is one of the most important aspects for the future of the State of Oklahoma. Oklahoma Republicans have been fighting to do the right thing for our children's education for decades. This week we will focus on educational budget shortcomings, and tax credits and cuts, while next week we will provide a collection of benefits Republicans have produced during their decade in control of Oklahoma's government.
Oklahoma's education system is often talked down upon, but there are many improvements that have been made under extremely difficult economic times. Currently, there are two approaches being taken to increase our teachers' pay and improve the quality of our students' education. There is the Democrat approach, which is to complain and demand more money to throw at the problem, without actually proposing any meaningful ideas. Then, there is the Republican approach, which is to work together to find real solutions.
The Democrats only answer is to raise taxes and spend more money, but we have heard this plan before when they said the Oklahoma Lottery would be the end-all, be-all, 100% fix-it-forever mechanism that would usher in the greatest education system in the country. This Democrat-led idea, of course, never materialized. Having more money would certainly help our education situation, but economic times have made that extremely difficult, and just throwing money at something without actually proposing anything is irresponsible and ineffective. While the Democrats demand even more money, promising once again that they will be accountable with your money, Republicans are creating a plan to make Oklahoma's education system worthy of our children.
Teachers are often lost in the mix of negativity. Oklahoma has some of the greatest teachers in the nation. The work they do on a day-to-day basis is one of the biggest labors of love and patience that a human being can give. Teachers are educators, parental figures, mentors, counselors, and heroes, all combined into one person. Their sacrifice for our children should be commended every single day, but their compassionate care is often lost in the scuffle of constant negativity across the state. With the monumental level of inaccurate information being produced by special interest groups, it is easy to get discouraged. The Oklahoma Republican Party is dedicated to facilitating a new era of Oklahoma education. With the help of our educators, common sense reform and accountability, we will create an education system that will make Oklahoma proud.
"It's going to be a challenging year,” the Governor said Tuesday after the state Board of Equalization approved figures showing legislators will have about $113.9 million less to spend this session than last year. Oklahoma's budget for the...fiscal year of about $6.9 billion will be about 1.6 percent less than this fiscal year's budget of about $7 billion." (NewsOK)
The sentiment in the passage above is something Oklahomans have had to stomach for awhile. As you read it, you may have thought it was from Governor Fallin in 2015, but it was actually from 2009, and the governor tightening his belt was Democrat Governor Brad Henry.
Governor Fallin and the Republican-controlled Oklahoma Legislature are all too familiar with this kind of budget shortcoming, and it is not exclusive to 2016. Budget shortages are rarely expected, but they are not unique to today's current revenue shortages, and they are always a bitter pill to swallow. The difference between 2009 and today is not drastic, except for one thing: The Democrats had control of the state for almost 100 years, while the Republicans have had control of the state for a decade.
Oklahoma Republicans are trying to issue in a new era of conservative-led prosperity with 100 years of deeply ingrained Democrat-created governmental infrastructure. In this time, Republicans have shored up the Teacher's Pension System, which was about to be bankrupt, by increasing funding to OTRS by $300 million a year, improving the funding ratio to 70%. Through Republican leadership, each and every teacher in Oklahoma will have their retirement account completely funded by 2025. If the Democrats had funded the Teachers Pension System properly from 1932, when the Teachers' Pension Plan was created, think about the huge benefit that $300 million a year could be doing for our children and classroom teacher's salaries!
The deep hole that Democrats dug our state in to will not be fixed by more digging. It will be fixed over time by Republicans who are dedicated to repairing 100 years of Democrats' mistakes. While Democrats and special interest groups point the finger at Republicans for the mess they created, let's take a closer look at what they're saying, and if what they are saying has any merit.
Tax Cuts and Credits
Tax credits for oil and gas producers have recently come under scrutiny by Democrats as the reason our education system is underfunded. This is an interesting criticism considering Democrats have been handing out tax credits for decades and voted on tax cuts in 2005 worth $150 million and in 2006 worth $627 million, which were signed into law by Democrat Governor Brad Henry.
Lets take a look at some of the tax credits Democrats handed out when they controlled the state:
When added up, these tax credits equal $212,260,000, which were all enacted by Democrat-controlled Legislatures.
Democrats simply cannot have it both ways. While the tax credits and tax cuts have helped business owners in many different capacities, Democrats choose to focus on a single tax credit for oil producers as the sole source of our education woes, but they are guilty of handing out tax credits in huge numbers. The oil and gas tax credit helps large and small producers in the oil and gas industry, which employs nearly a quarter of Oklahoma, paid 22% of the states tax collection, totaling $8.9 billion after rebates the last ten years, as of 2014, while simultaneously providing the state with an economic cushion during the The Great Recession of 2007-2009 under President Obama.
Furthermore, "Even if prices rise to $50 a barrel, many shale producers are not able to break-even at such price points," so this tax credit has kept many small energy producers afloat, enabling them to stay afloat so they can continue paying their employees, who also contribute to the state's tax revenue coffers. Times for Oklahoma would be much tougher if energy companies were unable to operate here, and the same goes for the companies that democrats gave tax credits to before Republicans took over the Legislature and the Governor's Office
The Democrats have promised a lot of things over the years. As we mentioned above, they promised to pay for teachers' pensions, which they almost bankrupted. In 2003 the Democrat Legislature sent SQs 705 & 706 to a vote of the people on the 2004 ballot. This measure established an Oklahoma Education Lottery, advertised and sold to the voters by Governor Brad Henry, promising to generate $300 million a year, but it is only generating $70 million a year for education.
These broken promises now have to be shored up somehow, and the faulty judgment in guaranteeing them during economically uncertain times has led to the problems we have today.
Special interest groups have been spouting that school funding for textbooks was removed this year, but this is not true either. The General Appropriations Bill (HB 2242) says, "There is hereby appropriated to the State Board of Education from any monies not otherwise appropriated from the Special Cash Fund of the State Treasury the sum of Thirty-three Million Dollars ($33,000,000.00) or so much thereof as may be necessary for the purchase of textbooks and instructional materials," but it is left up to the discretion of superintendents and administrators whether they will spend money on textbooks or not.
Speaking of superintendents and administrators, when Democrats were in control of the Legislature, their out of control budgeting led to "state education appropriations spiral[ing] to one-third and often more of the total state budget" (Oklahoma Watchdog). Today, with 584 school districts, we have 2,700 administrators and superintendents that combined make $184 million.
According to Oklahoma Watch, "In 2011-2012, Oklahoma ranked sixth among states in percentage of funds spent on district administration, at 3.2 percent". Oklahoma ranks "16th in proportion spent on school administration, at 5.4 percent," while teacher pay "ranked 40th, at 52 percent." Bloated administrative costs have changed little since this analysis was conducted.
Around the Union
Finally, the budget woes that Democrats love to complain about, many of which are their own fault, are happening all around the United States, regardless of their state tax rates.
The Oklahoman Editorial Board wrote a substantive article about this topic on Wednesday, which can be accessed here, but below is an excerpt worth considering before saying Oklahoma's education woes are the worst in country:
"It's often said that Oklahoma has cut school funding more than any other state. Yet the only way to reach that conclusion is to focus solely on one sliver of state funding (legislative appropriations) while ignoring all state sources. When the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities examined total state funding for schools between 2008 and 2014, it found 10 states cut funding by a larger percentage than Oklahoma.
So Oklahoma isn't even among the 10 worst states, despite the fact that the center employs a methodology designed to produce “cuts” on paper. The center determined per-pupil funding in 2008, then adjusted for inflation and population growth. Thus, even states that have increased school spending can still be accused of “cuts.”
Still, the center applies its methodology consistently, which highlights another inconvenient fact for critics of Oklahoma's school funding: The vast majority of states have cut school funding since 2008. The center reports 35 states provide less state funding per pupil, adjusted for inflation, than in 2008.
Critics have suggested Oklahoma schools would be flush with cash if only policymakers hadn't cut taxes over the past decade. They now argue a tax increase will help to make Oklahoma schools whole again. Yet the experience of other states following a different policy path than Oklahoma suggests otherwise.
In California, sales and income taxes were both increased in 2012. Despite that multibillion-dollar tax hike, California has cut state school funding by a larger percentage than Oklahoma.
States controlled by Democrats, such as Oregon, Delaware, New York, Rhode Island, Maryland and Washington, have all cut state funding for schools since 2008, according to the center's analysis.
And the states that have managed to increase state school funding haven't always seen the results predicted by some Oklahoma activists. Illinois has increased school funding since 2008 by a larger percentage than all but one state, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Yet teacher shortages still loom despite far higher teacher pay."
There are many aspects that have affected our current education situation. Decreasing state tax revenues, dwindling energy prices, increasing student numbers, and increased prices across a broad spectrum of things have all made Oklahoma's education system struggle to keep up with difficult economic times.
The population of Oklahoma is increasing, which makes everything a little bit pricier. If we want to continue to grow as a state, we have to do something about our education and economy. Improving education is a proven method for improving the economy over the long-term. Throwing money at a problem by raising taxes is a short-term, quick fix that has been tried over and over with little or no results. Creating real, long-term solutions is something Oklahoma Republicans are dedicated to and there are a number of options, e.g., ESA's, capping administrative costs, charter school reform, teacher pay increases, etc., on the table for the upcoming Legislative Session.
Once again we would like to thank our teachers for all their hard work and dedication. You are truly the heart of Oklahoma.
*The OKGOP would like to thank the many legislators who helped research and provide statistics for this publication.*
Oklahoma Boots on the Ground
The OKGOP's Boots on the Ground programs in previous elections have gone to states like Louisiana and Colorado, where we made a huge impact on races from the top to the bottom of the ballot.
This year our targeted state is OKLAHOMA!
With so many targeted House and Senate races, we're keeping our money and our volunteers HOME this year.
We need YOU to put YOUR Boots on the Ground to help us knock doors for important Senate and House races across Oklahoma!
This weekend we are focusing on three areas: Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Senate District 5 in Little Dixie
We are targeting Senate District 5, which is GOP Incumbent Senator Joe Silk's District. We are also focusing on several races in Oklahoma County and Tulsa County
We have nine seats that are in danger of falling into the hands of the Democrats, so we need YOUR Boots on the Ground in Oklahoma!
If you don't have a race in your local area, we need your help in other areas!
If you are interested in volunteering, please call or email Oklahoma County Chairman Daren Ward, Oklahoma Republican Party Director of Operations Jake Parsons, or Volunteer Coordinator for Tulsa County Patrick Haworth, so that we can add you to our list of volunteers!
McCurtain County & Eastern Oklahoma:
There are several deadlines approaching for the November 8th Elections:
If you plan on Absentee Voting, visit the link below for all your Absentee Voting needs:
If you are interested in being an Election Day Precinct Worker for your county, please contact your County Election Board as soon as possible! Training will begin very soon!
Click here for a list of contact information for all 77 Oklahoma County Elections Boards.
There are exciting events going on all around Oklahoma...
Creek County is the location of a family friendly Motorcycle Rally from October 27th-30th.
Route 66 Biker Rally
26101 South 513th west ave
Depew, OK 74028
Only 45 miles from Tulsa, OK
About 65 miles from Oklahoma City, OK
Less than a 3 hour drive from Wichita, KS
About 4 hours from Fort Worth, TX
About 4 hours from Dallas, TX
Less than 5 hours from Little Rock, AR
Contact Charlie or Jann for more information:
Charlie (918) 645-9029
or Jann (918) 557-7895
The Stephens County GOP is hosting the 11th Annual Chili Cook-Off!!
Over $300 worth of PRIZE DRAWINGS, including gift cards!
KIDS CARNIVAL GAMES with face painting, clowns, cotton candy and more!
Watch the football game on a Huge Screen TV!
Drinks, hotdogs and 20 types of chili
Come by and bring family and friends! This is a great event for the kids to go "trick or treating" and the parents to enjoy some chili! Meet your local elected officials, republican candidates and vote for your favorite chili. Tasting cups for chili are only $1 per person.
Booths are $35. If you think you have the best chili around contact Hope at 580-656-4181 to get a booth and we'll let you prove it! This is a great opportunity for candidates, individuals, and local business to interact with the people of Stephens County.
The OKGOP is hosting a volunteer phone bank every Tuesday before the election from 5:30pm-8:00pm!
For more information, check out the Facebook event here.
The Oklahoma Republican Party depends on your support in order to defeat the Clinton-Obama Political Machine! Please consider chipping in a few dollars to keep our momentum going!
Oklahoma Candidate Spotlight:
Senator Greg Treat
“Oklahoma has tremendous potential ahead of us but that potential will only be reached if we elect conservative, fiscally responsible legislators.”
-Senator Greg Treat
Hometown: Oklahoma City
Experience: Staffer for Senator Tom Coburn
District: Senate District 47
Senator Greg Treat and his wife Maressa have been married 11 years and reside in northwest Oklahoma City. They have three children: Mason, Cooper, and Olivia. The Treats are active members of Frontline Church.
Greg attended the University of Oklahoma, where he earned Phi Beta Kappa honors. Before being elected to the Oklahoma State Senate, Greg served on the staff of U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, helping Dr. Coburn uncover wasteful spending in the federal budget.
As a state senator, Greg has proven himself a leader. He’s 100 percent pro-life and has fought to protect all vulnerable Oklahomans. He’s been an effective advocate for education, public safety, and health care issues. Greg has also proven himself to be a strong supporter of the Second Amendment.
To learn more about Greg's conservative principles, volunteer, or to contact him, visit his campaign website at: http://www.gregtreat.com
Campaign Mailing Address:
Reelect Greg Treat 2016
PO Box 721884
Oklahoma City, OK 73172
"Public safety is of the utmost importance, and the security of the community is the first function of government."-Ryan Martinez
Hometown: Edmond, OK
Experience: Director of Leadership for T.W. Shannon; Field Representative for Senator Jim Inhofe
District: House District 39
Ryan is an experienced and principled community leader who has proven an unparalleled work ethic. He has been relied upon again and again by elected officials to help improve Oklahoma. That's who we need representing us in House District 39.
Because he believes so fervently in the American dream and in our God-given liberty, Ryan Martinez has been a conservative Republican leader from even a young age.
Martinez has worked previously as the Director of Leadership for Oklahoma Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon, was executive director of the Republican State House Committee, field representative for the Oklahoma Republican Party and is a field representative for Senator Jim Inhofe.
Ryan is engaged in our community. He is active, aware, and involved with people and small business owners in all of Edmond, from neighborhoods to the downtown business district.
Ryan believes in less government and more individual responsibility, from the right to carry a firearm to property ownership to the parental authority necessary in the education of our children.
Faith is the first and most important guiding principle for the Martinez family. Ryan’s belief in our Lord Jesus Christ called him to be a humble servant to his neighbors and family. He believes God ordains the freedom of the individual, which is the foundation of our Republic. Therefore, defending the right to free exercise of faith is fundamental.
The desire to be free sparked the American revolution, and the greatest experience in the history of mankind. Ryan believes liberty is under assault by a big, intrusive government that encroaches upon our property, workplace faith, families and the individual. Ryan will be a staunch defender of the U.S. Constitution and the freedom it guarantees.
To learn more about Ryan's conservative principles, visit his website at: http://www.electryanmartinez.com/
Follow him on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/ElectRyanMartinez/
Oklahoma Donald Trump Campaign Information
We just received a new shipment of bumper sticker and rally signs! Come get yours to support Donald Trump!
OKC Campaign Headquarters: 4031 N. Lincoln Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Hours of Operation: 9:00am-5:00pm
Campaign Phone Number: 405-292-4400
Tulsa Campaign Headquarters: 2816 E. 51st St, Tulsa, OK 74105
Hours of Operation: 10am-2pm, hours will be expanding soon
Campaign Phone Number: 918-992-2900
Donald Trump's Tulsa office is across the hall from the OKGOP office.
We have new Oklahoma Trump Pence signs and shirts! Stop by to pick up your Trump gear!
Trump/Pence Yard Signs
We sold out of our Oklahoma Trump yard signs! Thanks to everybody who purchased this limited edition sign!
The Trump Campaign just sent us a shipment of 5,000 yard signs, 5,000 rally signs, and 5,000 bumper stickers! The Trump merchandise is all FREE, but we always accept donations!
Come Get Yours Today!
Come get your Deplorable and Trumplahoma Shirts!
$15 per shirt!
We are located at 4031 N. Lincoln Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73105.
Our phone number is 405-528-3501.
Click here to help the Oklahoma Republican Party to Make America Great Again!
Quote of the Week
"No President who performs his duties faithfully and conscientiously can have any leisure. "
-President James K. Polk,
Political Cartoons of the Week