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Tell the Governor and Legislature NO to Bondage in Oklahoma

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Webster’s Dictionary describes Bondage as “the state of being a slave”. A bond is described as “a binding agreement” and “something that binds or restrains” and “an official document in which a government or company promises to pay back an amount of money that I has borrowed and to pay interest for the borrowed money”. One could safely say that if the legislature passes a “bond issue”, it makes the State of Oklahoma a slave to debt. This practice – the practice of enslaving the population to debt – must end.

Two projects have recently gained traction at the Oklahoma Legislature concerning bonds. First, the Capitol Building is in crumbling disrepair according to most accounts. While the cost of repairs is subject to debate, most legislators and the Governor agree the work should be done. What is in question is how to pay for these repairs. This is not an insignificant amount – about $160 million. The Legislature already addressed this issue, it was passed, and the Governor signed it – but it was unconstitutional.

You see, it is not legal in Oklahoma to pass a law that relates to two things – and the measure that funded $120 million for Capitol repairs ALSO had a small income tax rate cut (Article 5, Section 57). This is both widely known and was brought up during floor debate in both the House and the Senate – which brings to mind serious questions, chief among them is did they really intend for the repairs without a bond issue and income tax cut to succeed? There are people who make big money when a governmental entity goes into debt (i.e. by issuing a bond, or borrowing money). There are also people who make big money from tax credits – and you can’t have tax credits without the income tax. Some estimates place the yearly cost for these tax credits at $500 million! It is easy to see why those who benefit from this redistribution of wealth would try to sabotage both of these efforts, by combining them into one measure.

There is an easy way to fix the Capitol, if the Legislature and the Governor can agree. Since the State Senate seems to want a bond measure – and already passed one – and the Governor has praised this action – the first task is for the House to kill the bill. Then, the House and Senate needs to pass an emergency declaration due to the unsafe working conditions inside the building. If it passes with a 75% majority and the Governor signs it, the Rainy Day Fund can be used for repairs. This would free up more than $125 million without borrowing any money.

The only people who will be mad about this plan are the bond dealers and the legislators who love them.

The second project the lovers of bondage seem to want is the American Indian Cultural Center plus the Tulsa bribe/sister project to get votes/pop culture museum. Neither of these projects should be funded with State money, and probably not with any public money. I leave it to Tulsans to figure out how to fund the museum in their city. If they really want it, I suspect they can figure out how to pay for it. Since we in Oklahoma City seem to be great at giant projects using taxpayer dollars, we have an option. MAPS 3 has already created bond debt, but the money has not all been spent. There is a giant project of dubious wisdom (also known as the “Convention Center”) that could (and should) be cancelled (please read THIS). That would free up about $250 million. Take $40 million from that pool of money to complete the eyesore on the side of the highway (I mean American Indian Cultural Center), and spend the rest on school tornado shelters.

The only people who will be mad about this plan are those who love tall buildings and hate the children and Native American culture.

It is time to tell the Governor and Legislature NO to more bondage in Oklahoma.

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