WASHINGTON , D.C. — With Oklahoma’s governor, Speaker of the House, and Senate president pro tempore all agreeing that tax increases are not an option for fixing Oklahoma ’s budget problems, national and state taxpayer advocates today urged state legislators to put some teeth into that promise by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform.
The Taxpayer Protection Pledge is a commitment to the people of one’s district and the state of Oklahoma to, “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”
The new calls to join “the pledge” come in the context of what state Treasurer Scott Meacham has called the worst state government revenue picture since the Great Depression. While the no new taxes pledge was not a subject in recent interviews with members of the Legislature, CapitolBeatOK has found bi-partisan consensus that tax increases are unlikely or, at present, ill-advised.
“By signing the Pledge, legislators make clear that they will stand up for tax payers, not tax users,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Especially in a recession, higher taxes should be a non-starter for all Oklahoma legislators. I strongly encourage, and challenge, each of them to sign the Pledge before the legislature opens in February.”
“Taxpayers hear empty promises every day from elected officials in Washington about spending and taxes, only to end up disappointed because government decides it wants more and more,” said Brian Downs, executive director of Oklahomans for Responsible Government. “Signing this pledge to keep all tax increases off the table while fixing Oklahoma’s budget gap will give taxpayers some peace of mind that their government leaders here in Oklahoma are listening to them.”
“The budget situation could very well get worse in the next several months, and then could get downright ugly if things like SQ 744 and Obama’s Medicaid expansion come to pass,” added Brandon Dutcher, vice president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) and chairman of the Oklahoma center-right coalition meeting. “Oklahomans already spend more time working to pay taxes than to pay for food, clothing, and shelter combined. They need assurances from their state legislators that enough is enough.”
To date, seven governors and more than 1,100 state legislators have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Additionally, 34 U.S. Senators and 172 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) is a non-partisan coalition of taxpayers and taxpayer groups who oppose all tax increases. In Oklahoma, many legislators have worked with Americans for Tax Reform in the past.
About the author:
Patrick B. McGuigan is the capitol editor for Tulsa Today and editor of CapitolBeatOK which operates under contract with OCPA to provide incisive
news reporting on a broad range of topics effecting state government.