So you think Wisconsin is the model of what far right-wing wants to do to America? You haven’t seen anything yet. Welcome to Oklahoma! Oklahoma is undergoing a governmental revolution. Under the guidance of ALEC and the leadership of a morally corrupt puppet governor Mary Fallin, Oklahoma is quickly becoming a gun-toting, low-tax, religious fundamentalist state.
Why haven’t you heard about a huge labor battle in Oklahoma? That is because Oklahoma workers already have had these rights stripped away from them years ago with ‘Right to Work’ laws. In essence, if you work in Oklahoma, you will make around 20% less (than if you lived in a state that wasn’t ‘Right to Work’), your employer can easily fire you without notice and you have virtually no recourse. Does this cause poverty? Yes. Oklahoma ranks near the top of the state poverty rankings. For moe about Right to Work States, see point #6.
Below are three disturbing stories that all happened in a span of a week and others that have happened within the past year. If you want to see what a radical Republican legislation is coming to your state, no need to look toward Wisconsin. Oklahoma is about a year ahead of the curve.
1. Insane Tax Cuts for Rich Proposed During Times of Huge Deficits and Underfunding of State Services
Despite the fact that the state of Oklahoma has huge deficits and it ranks at the bottom in the nation for education, roads and healthcare funding, state Republicans have proposed a tax cut that would disproportionally benefit those making over $200,000. Oklahoma is quickly nearing ‘banana republic’ status with respect to governance.
This belief that even more tax gifts to the rich (that are only now paying 15% rates) will solve our economic problems is not only disingenuous position of the rich that know better, but has reached a cult status among a group of the upper middle class ‘want-a-be’s’.
Excerpt from Bloomberg BusinessWeek – May 18th, 2012
A little more than half of Oklahoma taxpayers would see a tax cut next year for an average annual savings of $60 under a Republican-backed income tax plan, according to an analysis of the proposal released on Friday.
The Oklahoma Tax Commission analysis shows 54 percent of Oklahoma tax filers would get a tax cut, while an additional 21 percent would see no change in their tax liability. Nearly 25 percent of Oklahomans would actually have an increase in their tax liability under the plan.
“This is politics at its worst,” said House Democratic Leader Rep. Scott Inman, D-Del City. “You’ve got a group of Republican politicians who believe that the best way to get re-elected is to sell a tax cut to the people of Oklahoma, whether it’s beneficial for the state or not.”
The proposal is expected to cost the state $32.7 million in the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1, and $102 million in fiscal year 2014 after the cut is implemented for a full fiscal year, according to figures from the Office of State Finance.
Republican Gov. Mary Fallin and legislative leaders announced an agreement on the plan Thursday to slash Oklahoma’s top income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 4.8 percent next year. The proposal cleared its first hurdle Friday, when a House conference committee approved it. Both Democrats on the panel opposed it. The measure is expected to be considered Monday by a Senate committee before it returns to the full House for a vote.
The Tax Commission’s analysis of the proposal shows the greatest percentage of taxpayers who would actually see a tax decrease — about 87 percent — are those earning between $150,000 and $499,000. The largest percentage facing a tax increase are those with between $10,000 and $16,000 in annual taxable income. The analysis shows 61 percent, or more than 18,000 tax filers, who earn between $12,000 and $14,000 annually would see their tax liability increase.
“These numbers show that the wealthiest Oklahomans will benefit disproportionately from the proposed tax cuts — a full 40 percent of the total tax cut will go to those making over $200,000 a year,” said David Blatt, the director of the Oklahoma Policy Institute, a Tulsa-based think-tank that supports funding for state services. “At the same time, some Oklahomans will face at least a small increase in state taxes.
Excerpt from ThinkProgress.com – May 18, 2012 (for the entire post, please click on the link)
Students at a public Oklahoma high school were given copies of a movie that compares abortion to the Holocaust after a local family asked the principal if they could distribute the DVDs to students, according to a local TV station. The movie begins with images of Hitler and concentration camps before making a comparison between the Holocaust and abortion.
The principal agreed to hand out the anti-abortion film, titled 180, if students obtained parental consent first, but the copies were handed out before parents were notified.
The Christian ministry Living Waters produced the movie. When it was released in 2011, the Anti-Defamation League called the fillm “one of the most offensive and outrageous abuses of the memory of the Holocaust we have seen in years.”
3. Hee Haw! You can carry guns openly in Oklahoma
Gun nuts and Rednecks rejoice! Far right Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin took time off of her personal crusade to send women back to the 1800′s long enough to sign a measure Tuesday allowing for guns to be carried openly.
“Oklahoma ranks near last in education, road conditions, health and workers rights, its true. But we got guns, freedom and God. It is like paradise. Praise our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and Winchester.” said a Oklahoma City resident visiting the state capital on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 1733 by Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore, would allow those with a conceal-carry permit to openly carry weapons. The measure takes effect Nov. 1.
“As a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and a gun owner myself, I’m happy to sign this bill into law and grant law-abiding citizens the ability to openly carry firearms,” Fallin said. “Senate Bill 1733 sends a strong message that Oklahoma values the rights of its citizens to defend themselves, their family and their property. It does so in a responsible way, by requiring those citizens who choose to open carry to undergo both firearms training and a background check.”
It is a shame the Governor Mary Fallin doesn’t not support the sacred vows of marriage as much as she does this interpretation of the constitution. An admitted adulterer, she was divorced from her first husband after it became know she was having a sexual affair with an Oklahoma State Trooper assigned to protect her.
Businesses may continue to ban firearms on their premises. SB 1733 prohibits carrying firearms on properties owned or leased by the city, state or federal government, at corrections facilities, in schools or on college campuses, at liquor stores and at sports arenas during sporting events.
4. Oklahoma State Senator Mike Reynolds Proposes Bill to Reinstate ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
Bigots die hard, at least they do in Oklahoma apparently.
The following is an excerpt from KOTV.com
A controversial policy banned from the U.S. military may be making a comeback in Oklahoma. We’re talking about a bill being proposed in the state House of Representatives. Supporters say they’ve been asked to reinstate the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy in the Oklahoma National Guard.
It’s controversial because it prohibits gays from serving openly in the military. It began during the Clinton presidency; President Obama repealed it last year. Now the bill’s author is receiving heated opposition. “I feel strongly about it because I believe that it affects the morale of our troops, yes,” State Rep. Mike Reynolds (R-Dist 91) said.
Reynolds wants the Oklahoma National Guard to reinstate DADT through House Bill 2195, which modifies eligibility requirements to where they were before 2009.Reynolds says National Guardsman have asked him to take this action because they believe troops that are openly gay hurt the military. “I’m not serving in the military right now, but certainly that’s the feedback I’m getting, that yes, it can have a very negative impact in operations,” he said.
Matt Harney, with OKC Pride, has a brother-in-law in the Marine Corps who says the issue is never brought up. ”It’s kind of on par with eye color or hair color,” Harney said. “I don’t think that our gay and lesbian members of the military are any less loyal or any less effective in the field.”
Since 1993, about 13,000 troops have been discharged under the policy. Harney says reinstating DADT in Oklahoma would be taking a step back. “This is a federal issue that’s already been decided and we’re moving beyond this era of discrimination,” he said. Reynolds said, “The real questions is why did Barack Obama change it? Who is he beholding to?”
Based on voicemails Reynolds is getting at his office, he knows he’s in for a fight. “You are going to stop harassing LGBT citizens who have joined the National Guard who have taken an oath, who have taken an oath to protect your ungrateful, little, worthless piece of trash life,” one angry caller said Tuesday in a message.
The Oklahoma National Guard had no comment on the proposal Tuesday.
But the ACLU of Oklahoma is “calling on the Speaker of the House to send a clear signal that HB 2195 is dead on arrival and that the House will not waste a single minute considering the politically motivated act of a single legislator, and instead, will stand with the brave men and women of the Oklahoma National Guard, regardless of their sexual orientation.”
5. Oklahoma Senator Inhofe: God Says Global Warming Is A Hoax
Excerpt from ThinkProgress.com - March 9, 2012 (for the entire post, please click on the link)
In a radio interview with Voice of Christian Youth America, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) argued that his belief that global warming is a hoax is biblically inspired. Promoting his book The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, Inhofe told interviewer Vic Eliason on Wednesday that only God can change the climate, and the idea that manmade pollution could affect the seasons is “arrogance“:
“Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that “as long as the earth remains there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night.” My point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.” said Inhofe.
6. Right-to-Work Hurts Everyone
Workers in states with Right-to-Work laws have a consistently lower quality of life than in free bargaining states – lower wages; higher poverty, child poverty, and infant mortality rates; a greater likelihood of being uninsured; poorer education for their children; and a greater likelihood of being killed on the job.
Right-to-Work States Have Lower Wages and Incomes
- The average worker in a Right-to-Work state makes $5,538 a year less than workers in free-bargaining states ($39,169 compared with $44,707). Weekly wages are $92 greater in free-bargaining states than in Right-to-Work states ($771.25 versus $679.55).
- Median household income Right-to-Work states is $6,184 less than in Free-Bargaining states ($46,328 versus $52,513).
- 28.3 percent of the jobs in Right-to-Work states are in low wage occupations (defined as less than the amount needed to bring a family of four above the poverty line), compared with only 19.5 percent of jobs in Free Bargaining states.
Right-to-Work States Have a Larger Share of Uninsured Residents and a Smaller Share of Residents with Employment-Based Health Insurance
- People in Right-to-Work states are more likely to be uninsured than people in free-bargaining states (16.7 percent versus 13.5 percent). Also, uninsured rates rose faster between 2000 and 2009 in Right to Work states (by 3.2 percentage points) than in Free Bargaining states (by only 1.9 percentage points).
- Children in Right-to-Work states are also more likely to be uninsured than children in free bargaining states (10.4 percent versus 7.5 percent).
- Residents of Right-to-Work states are less likely to have employment-based health insurance than residents of Free-Bargaining states (55.0 percent versus 59.3 percent).
- Employers in Right-to-Work states are also less likely to offer health insurance to their workers than employers in Free-Bargaining states (50.3 percent versus 56.7 percent). That difference is even more significant among small employers (those with less than 50 workers). In Right-to-Work states, only 34.6 percent of small employers offer their workers health insurance, compared with 43.8 percent of all small employers in Free-Bargaining states.
Right-to-Work States Have Higher Poverty and Infant Mortality Rates
- Poverty rates are higher in Right-to-Work states (19.1 percent for all people and 26.0 percent for children) than in Free Bargaining states (16.6 percent for all people and 23.3 percent for children).
- The infant mortality rate is 16.0 percent higher in Right-to-Work states than in Free-Bargaining states.
Right-to-Work States Spend Less on Education
- Right-to-Work states spend $2,671 less per pupil on elementary and secondary education than free-bargaining states.
- Students in Right-to-Work states are less likely to be at grade level in math and reading. In Right-to-Work states, 29.6 percent of 8th grade students are proficient in math (compared with 33.2 percent in Free-Bargaining states) and 28.1 percent are proficient in reading (compared with 32.1 percent in Free-Bargaining states).
- Residents of Right-to-Work states are also less likely to have high school and college degrees. In Right-to-Work states, 84.9 percent of people 25 and older have completed high school (compared with 86.9 percent in Free Bargaining states) and 24.5 percent of people 25 and older have completed college (compared with 28.4 percent in Free-Bargaining states).
Right-to-Work States Have Higher Workplace Fatality Rates
- According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of workplace deaths is 52.9% higher in states with Right-to-Work laws.
Sources: AFL-CIO, Death on the Job, 2010; Corporation for Enterprise Development, 2009-2010 Assets and Opportunities Scorecard; Kaiser Family Foundation, State Health Facts.org National Education Association, Rankings and Estimates – Rankings of the States 2009 and Estimates of School Statistics 2010, December 2009; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Highlights of Women’s Earnings in 2009, June 2010; U.S. Census Bureau, 2006-2008 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates; U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey 2010.