Thursday, October 27, 2011

TSA Releases VIPR Venom on Tennessee Highways

If you thought the “Transportation Security Administration” would limit itself to conducting unconstitutional searches at airports, think again.  The agency intends to assert jurisdiction over our nation’s highways, waterways, and railroads as well.  TSA launched a new campaign of random checkpoints on Tennessee highways last week, complete with a sinister military-style acronym--VIP(E)R—as a name for the program.
As with TSA’s random searches at airports, these roadside searches are not based on any actual suspicion of criminal activity or any factual evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever by those detained.  They are, in effect, completely random.  So first we are told by the U.S. Supreme Court that American citizens have no 4thamendment protections at border crossings, even when standing on U.S. soil.  Now TSA takes the next logical step and simply detains and searches U.S. citizens at wholly internal checkpoints.
The slippery slope is here.  When does it end?  How many more infringements on our liberties, our property, and our basic human rights to travel freely will it take before people become fed up enough to demand respect from their government?  When will we demand that the government heed obvious constitutional limitations, and stop treating ordinary Americans as criminal suspects in the absence of probable cause?
The real tragedy occurs when Americans incrementally become accustomed to this treatment on the roads just as they have become accustomed to it in the airports. We already accept arriving at the airport 2 or more hours before a flight to get through security; will we soon have to build in an extra 2 or 3 hours into our road trips to allow for checkpoint traffic?
Worse, some people are lulled into a false sense of security and are actually grateful for this added police presence!  Should we really hail the expansion of the police state as an enhancement to safety?  I submit that an attitude of acquiescence to TSA authority is thoroughly dangerous, un-American, and insulting to earlier freedom-loving generations who built this country.
I am certain people will complain about this, once they have to sit in stopped traffic for a few extra hours to allow for random searches of cars.  However, I am also certain it merely will take another "foiled" plot to silence many people into gladly accepting more government mismanagement of safety.
Vigilant, observant, law-abiding, gun-owning citizens defend themselves and stop crimes every day before police can respond.  That is the source of real security in America:  the 2nd Amendment right to defend oneself.  The answer is for people to be empowered to protect themselves.  Yet how many weapons might these checkpoints confiscate?  Even when individual go through all the legal hoops of licensing and permits, the chances of harassment or outright confiscation of weapons and detention of citizens when those weapons are found at a TSA checkpoint is extremely high.
Disarming the highways and filling them full of jack-booted thugs demanding to see our papers is no way to make them safer.  Instead, it is a great way to expand government surveillance powers and tighten the noose around our liberties.
Ron Paul

OK Lawmakers Consider Implementing Statewide Beverage Container Recycling Program

OKLAHOMA CITY (October 26, 2011) – Creating a state recycling program that allows Oklahomans to redeem money when beverage bottles are returned for recycling could have a significant impact on litter in the state, experts told lawmakers this week.
“It appears passage of a ‘bottle bill’ in Oklahoma could create an incentive for people to recycle bottles instead of putting them in the trash, aiding existing industry in our state while also reducing litter,” said state Rep. Mark McCullough, a Sapulpa Republican who requested the study. “There are still some details that must be addressed, but today’s study showed this idea has great promise.”
McCullough said he and others have worked on the issue for the past three years and he conducted the study to gather information from as many viewpoints as possible.
“This is not a Sierra Club bill or an idea from someone with a big-government approach to problem-solving,” McCullough said. “Instead, this is a market-driven proposal brought to me by the manager of a local glass plant. It seems the time is ripe to use market forces to reduce litter in our state while helping existing plants in Oklahoma better compete nationally and internationally.”
Michael Patton, an official with the Metropolitan Environment Trust in Tulsa, noted that litter is a big issue in Oklahoma and said the proposal could help reduce that problem.
Where “bottle bills” have been implemented, he said the average redemption rate is 84 percent. In comparison, just 4 percent of containers are recycled in Oklahoma today.
Steven Segebarth, an official with St. Gobain Containers, noted that glass packaging is now a national industry that would benefit from increased recycling efforts. He said there are 48 glass plants in 22 states comprising a $5.5 billion industry and those facilities handle 30 billion glass containers per year.
Such facilities employ 18,000 individuals nationally, including 1,000 in Oklahoma, Segebarth said. Unfortunately, he said estimates indicate 1.8 billion of the 2.4 billion beverage containers now sold annually in Oklahoma wind up in landfills instead of being recycled.
Mike Smaha, an official with Owens-Illinois Glass, told lawmakers his company obtains 80 percent of their recyclable material from “bottle bill” states.
And Fenton Rood, an official with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, noted there are now 41 landfills in Oklahoma that are rapidly filling.
At the same time, there are now three glass plants and three paper plants in Oklahoma that would benefit from a more robust recycling program that would reduce landfill challenges.
However, some opponents raised concerns about implementing a “bottle bill” law in Oklahoma.
Jim Griffith, CEO of OnCue Express, told lawmakers that most retailers have limited space in their stores and cannot handle the challenge of storing bottles returned for redemption.
McCullough said he would not support any bill forcing retailers to act as collection agents.
“I do not support forcing retailers to become trash collectors for the state and, fortunately, we are way beyond the point where that is necessary. Modern recycling redemption models left the idea of forced participation by retailers in the dust a long time ago,” McCullough said. “Today, there is definitely a robust market for recycled commodities and market incentives will readily generate a cottage industry of vendors who will accept the recycled containers and pay the redemptions.”
Another critic, Kevin S. Dietly, an official with distributor Northbridge Environmental, said “bottle bill” laws could involve significant implementation costs and disrupt sales. He said a 1999 study in Kentucky projected that a “bottle bill” would reduce sales at border stores by 4.6 percent.
Overall, McCullough noted that manufacturers liked the proposal while distributors opposed it – an “interesting and ironic situation.” However, while there was disagreement on some issues, there was broad agreement on others, he noted.
“There is a significance divergence on what the actual impact of a recycling program would be on distributors and consumer behavior,” McCullough said. “But the one thing everyone agrees on is that it would reduce litter.”
Overall, the Sapulpa lawmaker was pleased the study included significant participation from a diverse group of experts on both sides of this issue.
“The purpose of this study was to gather information on the feasibility of implementing a state-wide beverage container recycling program utilizing a refundable container assessment,” McCullough said. “It’s clear that there would be benefits to such a program, but we will have to address some of the potential problems to ensure there is buy-in from as many constituencies as possible.”

Stronger DUI law starts Tuesday

Starting next Tuesday, November 1, Oklahomans who drive drunk will face tougher penalties—changes that supporters say will save lives. Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Jason Nelson authored the Erin Swezey Act last session, which won overwhelming approval by the legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin. The legislation was named for a 20-year-old Oklahoma State University student from Edmond who was killed in 2009 by a drunk driver with numerous DUI arrests and convictions.
“We want people to know that if they choose to drink too much and get behind the wheel, they will face greater consequences. Hopefully that may discourage some people from driving drunk in the first-place,” said Jolley, R-Edmond. “If not, the provisions of the Erin Swezey Act will make it much more difficult for them to drink and drive once they’ve been convicted of DUI.”
As of November 1, an interlock device will be required for 18 months on a first conviction for those with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .15 or higher. For a second or subsequent offense, the interlock will be mandatory for those with a BAC of .08 for a period of four years, and for five years on subsequent offenses. Under the new law, those convicted will have the designation “Interlock Required” on the face of their driver licenses as long as they’re required to have an interlock device.
The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office has already begun airing a new Public Service Announcement about interlock devices, which can be viewed on their website ( and will also be working to raise public awareness about the Erin Swezey Act.
“Keeping the public safe on Oklahoma roadways is a top priority for law enforcement,” said Oklahoma Highway Patrol Major Rusty Rhodes. “This law provides stricter rules for DUI offenders and will help us keep impaired drivers off the roads.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, interlock devices are credited with reducing repeat drunk driving offenses by an average of 67 percent, with a 30 percent reduction of alcohol related fatalities. However some states have seen even greater results.
“In Arizona, they’ve cut their fatalities by nearly half. That’s pretty dramatic,” said Nelson, R-Oklahoma City. “We’ll never know whose life we’ve saved with this law, but it could be any one of us or our own children or grandchildren.”
Among those attending Thursday’s State Capitol press conference to raise public awareness about the new law were Erin’s parents, Keith and Dixie Swezey, her brothers, and other friends and family members.
“Drunk driving is not a victimless crime. Erin’s life was cut tragically short by a senseless and 100 percent preventable act,” said Keith Swezey. “But if this new law is properly enforced, countless Oklahoma citizens will not have to suffer the tragedy that our family and so many others have gone through.”

More Polls

64% Say Government has too much money and power
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of U.S. Adults shows that 64% think the government has too much power and money while just nine percent (9%) says it has too little of both. Nineteen percent (19%) think the government has about the right amount of power and money.
The number of adults that believes the government holds too much power and money is up slightly from 61% a year ago and 60% in April 2009.
Only 10% believe the federal government spends taxpayers’ money wisely and fairly, down six points from last year. Seventy-eight percent (78%) disagree and say the government does not spend money from taxpayers the way it should while 12% are undecided.
84% say country heading in wrong direction
Sixteen percent (16%) of Likely U.S. Voters now say the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey taken the week ending Sunday, October 23.
The latest finding is up a point from a week ago, but is down a point from a month ago and 16 points from this time last year. 
Since the third week in July, the number of voters who are confident in the nation’s current course has resembled levels measured in the final months of the Bush administration, with voter confidence remaining in the narrow range of 14% to 19%.
When President Obama assumed office in January 2009, optimism rose to 27% and climbed to the low to mid 30s peaking at 40% in early May of that year.  In 2010, confidence steadily decreased and hasn’t topped 30% since February 2011.
Seventy-seven percent (77%) of voters say the country is heading down the wrong track, down a point from last week.  Since January 2009, voter pessimism has ranged from a low of 57% to a high of 80%. This time last year, 64% said the United States was heading down the wrong path.
Congressional Favorability Ratings
While Congress’ overall job approval continues to hover around record lows, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi remains the most unpopular Congressional leader.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 63% of Likely Voters have at least a somewhat unfavorable opinion of Pelosi, just below her worst rating ever (64%) measured in July and February.
For House Speaker John Boehner, 38% have a favorable opinion of him while 46% view him unfavorably.  That includes nine percent (9%) who have a Very Favorable view of the Ohio Republican and 22% who have a Very Unfavorable impression of him.   These findings show little change from last month.  When Boehner took the reins as speaker from Pelosi, he enjoyed a 45% favorable rating and a 34% unfavorable rating.
Just 21% of voters have a favorable opinion of House Majority Leader Harry Reid, matching his all-time low first measured in late May. Fifty-seven percent (57%) view Reid unfavorably.  These figures include eight percent (8%) who have a Very Favorable impression of the Nevada Democrat and 36% who share a Very Unfavorable view of him.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell earns favorable reviews from 32% of voters and unfavorable marks from 40%.  These figures include six percent (6%) who have a Very Favorable impression of McConnell and 20% who have a Very Unfavorable view of him.  But nearly one-third (28%) don’t know enough about him to offer an opinion, as has been the case for years now.
Eighty-two percent (82%) of voters now say members of Congress are more interested in their own careers than helping people.  That matches the highest level measured since regular tracking began in November 2006 but is generally consistent with findings since the spring.  Nine percent (9%) feel members of Congress are more interested in helping people. 
And 71% of Likely U.S. Voters favor establishing term limits for all members of Congress. Just 14% oppose setting such limits, and 15% are undecided about them.
The President and the Economy
Perceptions of President Obama’s handling of the economy – the most important issue on voters’ minds – have fallen to a new low. 
The latest national telephone survey finds that 28% of Likely Voters believe the president is doing a good or excellent job on the economy.  While this finding has been hovered around 30% since early August, it’s the lowest level measured of Obama’s presidency.
Gallup Polls show President Barack Obama's job approval rating has shown modest improvement in the past week. His latest rating, based on Oct. 24-26 Gallup Daily tracking is 43%, and his approval has been at or above 42% in each of the last seven days. In the prior two weeks, his averages were generally at or below 40%.
The Second Amendment
Forty-seven percent of American adults currently report that they have a gun in their home or elsewhere on their property. This is up from 41% a year ago and is the highest Gallup has recorded since 1993, albeit marginally above the 44% and 45% highs seen during that period.
Republicans (including independents that lean Republican) are more likely than Democrats (including Democratic leaners) to say they have a gun in their household: 55% to 40%. While sizable, this partisan gap is narrower than that seen in recent years, as Democrats' self-reported gun ownership spiked to 40% this year.
Most of us favor the adherence to the second amendment with private gun ownership. A record-low 26% of Americans favor a legal ban on the possession of handguns in the United States other than by police and other authorized people. When Gallup first asked Americans this question in 1959, 60% favored banning handguns. But since 1975, the majority of Americans have opposed such a measure, with opposition around 70% in recent years.
A solid majority of the U.S. public, 73%, believes the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the rights of Americans to own guns.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Legislative Study Reviews Shared Parenting from Conception

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Anastasia A. Pittman said today’s legislative study on shared parenting from conception examined how Oklahoma child protection statutes can be expanded to provide paternal support for infants in utero.
“Oklahoma law defines an ‘unborn child’ as a human from fertilization until birth,” said Pittman, D-Oklahoma City. “Our law also makes anyone who injures an unborn child knowingly to be guilty of a felony. Given those precedents, it seems only logical that we would expect some degree of paternal responsibility and aid from the moment of conception. For the first nine months, many unintended and out-of-wedlock pregnancies become the shared responsibility of the mother and our government. It is only after the child is born that the state ramps up efforts to establish paternity and initiate child support collections. Today, we looked at how we can ensure shared parenting takes place from the moment an unborn child is created.”
The study showed that paternity can be established in the 14th week of pregnancy in a non-invasive procedure using prenatal fetal DNA present in the mother’s plasma. Invasive procedures such as amniocentesis cost almost twice as much as the fetal DNA test, which is 99 percent accurate in determining whether a man is or is not the father of an unborn child.
Teen childbearing in Oklahoma cost taxpayers at least $190 million in 2008, according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy. Meanwhile, student teen moms and their children are receiving less aid. For example, the Emerson Alternative High School Early Head Start clinic, which had helped teen mothers for 30 years, was forced to close due to a $141,000 funding cut as part of legislative efforts to balance the state budget.
Oklahoma is among the states with the highest teen birth rates, according to 2009 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vital Signs report. Meanwhile, budget cuts have led to higher co-payments and reduced eligibility for child-care subsidies through the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
“The emotional burden born by expectant mothers is really incalculable when dads don’t step up right away,” Pittman said. “With fewer services available to teen moms, it is critical that fathers share parental responsibility from conception. Deadbeat dads cost the state of Oklahoma and single mothers to cover prenatal and postpartum costs. By strengthening our child neglect-and-abuse laws and mandating shared parenting from conception, we will not just save tax dollars, but we will also ease the burden on mothers and possibly save the life of the unborn child.”

Attitudes on Healthcare

On Tuesday, October 25, 2011 Rasmussen polled 1,000 adults with the following question- Do you favor or oppose a single-payer health care system where the federal government provides coverage for everyone?
Roughly half (49%) of Americans oppose a single-payer health care system where the federal government provides coverage for everyone.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 35% of American Adults favor a single-payer health care system. Sixteen percent (16%) are undecided.
In another poll earlier this month Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 25% of Likely U.S. Voters think it is more important for the federal government to determine a minimum level of health insurance that all Americans must buy rather than letting individuals choose their own plan. Seventy percent (70%) disagree and say it is more important to give individuals the right to select their own health insurance plans
Seventy-six percent (76%) believe that people should be allowed to buy health insurance coverage for issues like unexpected surgeries or cancer but pay for routine doctor visits on their own without insurance. Just 12% say Americans should not be able to buy only major medical insurance and pay out-of-pocket for routine doctor visits.

Majority oppose Student Loan Forgiveness

One of the loudest demands by the Occupy Wall Street protesters is for forgiveness of the nearly $1 trillion worth of student loans, but Americans strongly oppose forgiving that debt. Even as President Obama talks about easing the burden on those with student loans, in fact, Americans are more inclined to think the government should help those who haven’t gone to college instead. 
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 finds that just 21% of American Adults think the federal government should forgive the nearly $1 trillion in loans it made or guaranteed to help students pay for a college education. Sixty-six percent (66%) oppose the forgiveness of all student loans. Yet, in a poll on Monday, Thirty-four percent (34%) feel the views of the Occupy Wall Street protesters are closer to their own.

66% of Americans Dislike the Fed

Most voters don’t like the Federal Reserve, the nation’s central banking system, which one presidential candidate, Ron Paul, would like to abolish.
Thirty-four percent (34%) of Likely U.S. Voters share at least a somewhat favorable opinion of the Federal Reserve. That includes just five percent (5%) with a Very Favorable view of it. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 50% have at least a somewhat unfavorable regard for the Fed, with 15% who see it Very Unfavorably. Another 16% are undecided.
The Political Class strongly disagrees.  Seventy-nine percent (79%) of the Political Class views the Fed favorably, while 57% of Mainstream voters hold an unfavorable opinion of the institution created in 1913 to regulate America’s money supply and oversee the nation’s banks. It is no wonder then that Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Likely U.S. Voters believe that government and big business work together against the interests of consumers and investors.
“This unholy alliance between the largest corporations and the government is a natural and inevitable result of moving away from a national commitment to self-governance,” wrote Scott Rasmussen in his book In Search of Self-Governance.  “As a result, the gap today between Americans who want to govern themselves and politicians who want to rule over them may be as big as the gap between the colonies and England during the 18th century. And that’s true whether Republicans or Democrats are in charge.”
Additionally, a recent poll shows that 51% believe the chairman of the Fed has too much power over the economy. Only nine percent (9%) disagree and say he does not have too much power.
Only 26% of Americans share a favorable view of Bernanke, including seven percent (7%) who view the chairman Very Favorably. Fifty-one percent (51%) view Bernanke unfavorably, with 29% who share a Very Unfavorable opinion of him. Another 24% have no opinion of the chairman.
Seventy-four percent (74%) agree with Ron Paul that auditing the Federal Reserve Board is a good idea, even though Bernanke is not willing to go that far.
A related survey finds that only seven percent (7%) of American Adults believe the average taxpayer benefited more than Wall Street from the bailouts. Seventy-four percent (74%) now think Wall Street benefited more. Overall, 68% believe that most of the bailout money went to the very people who created the nation’s ongoing economic crisis.
A Gallup Poll finds Americans are more than twice as likely to blame the federal government in Washington (64%) for the economic problems facing the United States as they are the financial institutions on Wall Street (30%).
These reports mirror the recent increase in dissatisfaction and distrust of the government. Keep in mind, these are the very folks we requested or allowed to be in power. 

Family Law Process Harming Children

OKLAHOMA CITY (October 20, 2011) – Oklahoma’s family law is dangerously failing the children it is supposed to protect, leading some lawmakers to consider reform of both divorce statutes and the foster-care system.
Following a recent legislative study, state Rep. Mark McCullough said it is clear that “no fault” divorce is a failed policy.
“I respect the views of those who argue that no-fault divorce creates less havoc than the alternatives, but I question that orthodoxy,” McCullough said. “There is very little in the divorce process that is even remotely connected to the interest of the children.”
State Rep. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City, who grew up a child of divorce, said his experiences with the system were life changing, negative and all too typical.
“When you get down to it, our current divorce system is a racket that enriches attorneys and makes children and communities poorer,” Nelson said. “Divorce scars children and leaves them emotionally disfigured. The current divorce laws are perverse and they are destroying children and our society. If the best interests of children were actually taken into consideration the divorce rate would be considerably less.”
During the study, one legal practitioner estimated that that vast majority of disputed custody cases are due to one parent trying to reduce the amount of child support payments.
James Reid, an Oklahoma City attorney, told lawmakers of the challenges he faced representing a client who sought to have custody modified due to concerns of serious child abuse by the former wife’s new boyfriend. The process drug out for eight years without court resolution and involved nine judges and multiple DHS investigations.
Another individual, Chris Gregory, told lawmakers he has spent over $160,000 on attorney’s fees (including paying for his wife’s lawyer) during a divorce case that has been ongoing for three years.
In cases involving termination of parental rights, Oklahoma Supreme Court rulings have required that that there must be due process, and a clear and convicting standard of proof.
However, Oklahoma is one of only 10 states where the right to a jury trial is part of that process, which can dramatically increase the time involved and turmoil for children.
Furthermore, even when children are removed from the home, state policies often prevent reasonable outcomes.
At McCullough’s study, several foster parents told lawmakers of problems they had attempting to adopt children due to Oklahoma’s convoluted law and continuing problems with the Department of Human Services.
Foster parents Keith and Tammy Winn told lawmakers they were given custody of a child in April 2010, due in part to the mother’s meth addiction.
When the Winns attempted to adopt the child, DHS fought that effort and continued to push reunification with the birth mother who continued to test positive for drug use and had not shown interest in the child.
Floyd McKee, a Baptist pastor who took in three foster children, also told lawmakers of similar problems. When he attempted to adopt the children he took in, the adoption/parental termination process took five years.
“It seems DHS policy is reunification at all costs,” McCullough said. “State law does not require them to do that. That is a policy decision made at the agency level. Clearly, we need to reform the law to prevent such mindless bureaucracy from ignoring the best interest of a child in the future.”
Another problem in the system is that judges are overloaded, officials noted.
Currently, there are five judges in Oklahoma City handling family court. Those five judges have overseen 3,600 cases so far this year.
In Tulsa County, there are over 400 divorces are filed every month and 52 percent involve children.
Mike Jestes, executive director of the Oklahoma Family Policy Council, urged lawmakers to devote more state dollars to prevention of family disintegration and also urged them to fix the foster-care system in Oklahoma.
McCullough said potential reforms should progress along two tracks. First, he called for limited consideration of fault in divorce proceedings. And in cases where a parent is abusing and neglecting children, McCullough said there must be immediate consequences and swift termination of parental rights.
“There need to be penalties that disincentivize courtroom strategies that traumatize children, and there must be swift consequences for the worst cases involving parents who abuse or severely neglect their children,” McCullough said. “Obviously, our first goal as policymakers is to create an environment conducive to family survival. However, when things don’t work out, the legal process needs to be objective, efficient and prioritize the needs of the child. Our current laws don’t meet that standard and innocent children are the ones paying the price.”

More bad poll news for President Obama.

According to Gallup, Obama’s approval average hit an all-time low in the last quarter (his 11th) falling as low as 38%.
Gallup reports that from July 20-Oct. 19, 2011, Obama’s approval rating “ranged narrowly between 38% and 43% for all but a few days of the quarter.”
His 41% average is a full six points down from his 10th quarter. President Obama's most recent quarter in office was his worst to date, and these lower levels of public support could put his re-election chances in peril unless things start to improve in the next few months. Currently, voters say they are more likely to vote for "the Republican candidate" than for Obama for president in 2012.
This is not just a low for Obama it’s also an historical low.  Gallup notes that the only president since Dwight Eisenhower to have a lower 11th quarter was Jimmy Carter who hit 31%.
Americans' satisfaction with the way things are going in the United States remains low at 13% in October, similar to the 11% last month and still among the lowest on record.
Americans' low satisfaction level does not bode well for an incumbent president's re-election. U.S. satisfaction was also low before two recent incumbent presidents were defeated for re-election. In November 1979, 19% of Americans were satisfied with the way things were going in the United States, the last Gallup reading before Jimmy Carter's defeat in 1980. Also, in August 1992, 22% were satisfied prior to George H.W. Bush's unsuccessful re-election bid.
Satisfaction levels were higher when Ronald Reagan (48% in September/October 1984), Bill Clinton (39% in October 1996), and George W. Bush (44% in October 2004) all won re-election.
It is not just the president with low ratings. The percentage of Americans who approve of the job Congress is doing returned to 13% in October, matching the all-time Gallup low on this measure, first recorded in December 2010 and repeated in August.
Americans are more than twice as likely to say President Obama and the current Congress are doing a poor job (67%) as a good job (30%) of dealing with the most important problems facing the United States.
These results are based on a Sept. 15-18 USA Today/Gallup poll. They fit in with the broader theme of relatively low presidential approval ratings, historically low congressional approval ratings, and low levels of trust in government.
Other key findings:
Key Findings:

·         82% of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job.
·         69% say they have little or no confidence in the legislative branch of government, an all-time high and up from 63% in 2010.
·         57% have little or no confidence in the federal government to solve domestic problems, exceeding the previous high of 53% recorded in 2010 and well exceeding the 43% who have little or no confidence in the government to solve international problems.
·         53% have little or no confidence in the men and women who seek or hold elected office.
·         Americans believe, on average, that the federal government wastes 51 cents of every tax dollar, similar to a year ago, but up significantly from 46 cents a decade ago and from an average 43 cents three decades ago.
·         49% of Americans believe the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. In 2003, less than a third (30%) believed this.

Anderson calls on Governor to stop HealthChoice plan to send $75 million to New Jersey

Beginning Jan. 1, 2012, Oklahoma school teachers and state employees using HealthChoice for insurance benefits will be forced to fill their prescriptions through an out-of-state mail order pharmacy, Sen. Patrick Anderson said Wednesday. The bureaucratic decision will result in the loss of approximately $75 million from the Oklahoma economy to New Jersey.
Anderson said the new prescription plan was not approved by the Governor or the legislature - instead it is the result of an agreement reached in August between a pharmaceutical company and the Oklahoma State and Education Employees Group Insurance Board (OSEEGIB). Lawmakers, teachers and state employees were given no notice of this proposed change or comparison of options – simply a pronouncement that the new plan would go into effect on January 1st.
“This plan is a great example of what we can expect under Obama-care,” said Anderson, R-Enid. “Under the new pharmacy plan, this state agency has dictated that you can no longer choose who you want to use as your pharmacist – you must instead use the company in New Jersey that the state agency has preselected for you. I have had several constituents contact me and complain about the fact that they do not want to have to call a 1-800 number in order to speak to a pharmacist. My constituents want to continue to use the local pharmacist that they know and who knows them.”
Anderson said the bureaucracy’s move is more than just a poor health care decision – it’s also bad economics. He said the plan would have a terrible economic impact on locally-owned pharmacies around the state.
“In many of the small communities that I represent the local school is the largest employer – and thus the largest customer base of the local pharmacy,” he said. “By telling these school teachers that they cannot use their local pharmacy, this plan eliminates the customer base of these local pharmacies and will force these pharmacies to lay off employees and possibly even close their doors. That, in turn, impacts the Oklahoma economy as a whole and it will be felt in more places than just local pharmacies. Removing $75 million from the Oklahoma economy will be felt in local restaurants, grocery stores and other retailers.”
Anderson explained OSEEGIB is a part of the Office of State Finance, an executive agency of the State of Oklahoma.
“For this reason I wrote Governor Fallin last week and asked that she intervene in this matter and stop this plan from going into effect,” he said. “I would urge all Oklahomans who are concerned about this prescription plan to contact the Governor’s office and let your voice be heard as well.”

Thursday, October 20, 2011

U.S. Budget Report

CBO estimates that the federal budget deficit was about $1.30 trillion in fiscal year 2011, approximately the same dollar amount as the shortfall recorded in 2010. The 2011 deficit was equal to 8.6 percent of gross domestic product, CBO estimates, down from 8.9 percent in 2010 and 10.0 percent in 2009, but greater than in any other year since 1945. The estimated 2011 total reflects the shift of some payments from fiscal year 2012 into fiscal year 2011 (that is, from October to September, because October 1 fell on a weekend); without that shift, the deficit in 2011 would have been $1.27 trillion. CBO’s deficit estimate is based on data from the Daily Treasury Statements; the Treasury Department will report the actual deficit for fiscal year 2011 later this month.
The deficit in September was $64 billion, CBO estimates, $29 billion greater than the shortfall recorded a year ago. Without the shift to September of certain payments that would ordinarily be made in October, the deficit in September would have been $2 billion lower than it was in the same month in 2010.
Net interest on the public debt grew the most, rising by almost 17 percent ($38 billion) above the outlays recorded in 2010, primarily because of the large increase in the government’s debt during the past year. In the other direction, spending for unemployment benefits fell by 24 percent ($39 billion) in 2011 because fewer claims were filed and a provision that boosted recipients’ benefits by $25 per week expired. Net payments to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also fell, from $40 billion in 2010 to $5 billion in 2011. Spending for education, commerce, housing, and space programs declined as well.
Defense spending increased by about 1 percent in 2011, after rising by an average of 7 percent per year over the 2006–2010 period. Medicaid outlays increased by just 1 percent this year, in part because the federal government’s share of the program’s costs declined, as previously legislated increases in that share expired. (In contrast, Medicaid spending grew by almost 9 percent in 2010.) Medicare and Social Security outlays rose by about 4 percent each this year, slightly less than they rose last year.

United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act

H.R. 3080, sent to the President on October 13, 2011, approves the free trade agreement between the government of the United States and the government of the Republic of Korea (Korea) that was signed on June 30, 2007, and modified by a later agreement on December 3, 2010. It provides for tariff reductions and other changes in law related to implementation of the agreement. The bill extends user fees collected by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that expire under current law and would increase those fees. In addition, it establishes a reporting requirement for federal and state prisons for tax administration purposes and increases the penalties on tax preparers who did not comply with due-diligence requirements for the earned income tax credit. It also would shift some corporate income tax payments between fiscal years.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that enacting H.R. 3080 would reduce revenues by $31 million in 2012 and by about $7.0 billion over the 2012-2021 period. CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 3080 would increase direct spending by $53 million in 2012 but would decrease direct spending by about $7.0 billion over the 2012-2021 period. The net impact of those effects is an estimated reduction in deficits of $16 million over the 2012-2021 period. Pay-as-you-go procedures apply because enacting the legislation would affect direct spending and revenues.
Further, CBO estimates that implementing the legislation would cost $7 million over the 2012-2016 period, assuming the availability of appropriated funds. CBO has determined that the nontax provisions of H.R. 3080 contain no intergovernmental mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA), and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
Under the United States-Korea free trade agreement, tariffs on U.S. imports from Korea would be phased out over time. The tariffs would be phased out for individual products at varying rates, ranging from immediate elimination on the date the agreement enters into force to gradual elimination over 10 or more years. According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, the United States collected about $660 million in customs duties in 2010 on $48 billion of imports from Korea. Based on expected imports from Korea, CBO estimates that implementing the tariff schedule outlined in the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement would reduce revenues by $158 million in 2012, and by about $7 billion over the 2012-2021 period, net of income and payroll tax offsets.
This estimate includes the effects of increased imports from Korea that would result from the reduced prices of imported products in the United States, reflecting the lower tariff rates. It is likely that some of the increase in U.S. imports from Korea would displace imports from other countries. In the absence of specific data on the extent of this substitution effect, CBO assumes that an amount equal to one-half of the increase in U.S. imports from Korea would displace imports from other countries.
James R. Langevin RI., stated on the house floor that "While I favor expanding global trade, I oppose trade agreements that lack key labor and environmental safeguards, thus allowing our trading partners to exploit regulations in their own countries that are far weaker than those in America." He added "I am also concerned that grave and ongoing human rights violations against labor leaders and human rights workers in Colombia are not fully addressed in this legislation. While the current administration and my Ways and Means colleagues continued negotiations to revise these trade agreements by incorporating international labor standards and environmental agreement compliance, I remain unconvinced that these provisions will be meaningfully enforced. Unfortunately, I do not believe these trade agreements meet the minimum requirements necessary to protect our workers from increased job losses, safeguard our environment, or convince me this is the right step for our nation."
Jeff Duncan of South Carolina pointed out that "Unfortunately, the Korean trade agreement that we're debating right now is deeply flawed, poorly negotiated, and will cost American jobs by picking winners and losers in the market place. The textile provisions alone in the agreement will cost Americans nearly 40,000 jobs over the next 7 years. Sadly, many of those jobs will be lost in my own state of South Carolina.
"While this agreement gives South Korean goods duty-free entry into the U.S. market, American exports to South Korea will still be subjected to a 10 percent Tax. That amounts to an automatic 10 percent tariff on certain US goods, putting our manufacturers at an immediate competitive disadvantage. Additionally, this agreement opens US markets to Korean goods, but doesn't guarantee the Korean market will be open for US goods."
The American Textile Industry sent a letter that stated:
As representatives of the domestic textile and apparel sector and its nearly 600,000 workers, we strongly urge you to oppose the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). In regards to textiles and apparel, the FTA is seriously flawed and will result in the continued outsourcing of valuable textile, apparel and other manufacturing jobs. With our nation struggling through one of the worst economic periods in its history, we believe the current agreement sends the wrong message to our workers and to American voters.
During the past forty years, Korea has developed a sophisticated industrial and apparel fabrics sector and, as a consequence, is the second largest exporter of textile yarns and fabrics to the United States. Although the U.S. textile sector is one of the most efficient and quality-driven producers in the world, the Korean economy presents virtually no export opportunities to Korea for U.S. textile producers. As a measure of this one-way trading relationship, the U.S. trade deficit in textiles and apparel totaled $708 million in 2009.
As a result, the textile industry asked the Obama Administration to make three fixes to the KORUS agreement in order to ensure that U.S. textile, apparel and fiber jobs were not outsourced to Korea and China. These fixes concerned (a) loopholes in the enforcement portions of the agreement that benefit China, (b) a tariff schedule that gives Korean exporters better terms than U.S. companies and (c) the exclusion of textile components in the agreement's rules-of-origin that advantage non-signatories to the agreement such as China.
These mistakes not only hurt our manufacturing workers but also damage our industry's ability to supply our military with essential goods for our men and women in uniform. In particular, Korea's producers get longer phase-out schedules than U.S. producers on a number of sensitive product lines that include products that are needed by the U.S. military. Damaging surges by Korean producers because of this inequitable arrangement will hurt U.S. companies that the military depends on for a number of important products.
An analysis by the Economic Policy Institute estimates that 159,000 good paying American jobs will be destroyed if the KORUS agreement in its present form passes Congress. Of that total, we estimate that between 9,300 and 12,300 jobs will be lost specifically in the U.S. textile and apparel sector as a result of legal KORUS trade. U.S. government figures show that approximately three additional jobs are lost to the U.S. economy for each textile job that is eliminated. In addition, U.S. job losses from illegal Chinese exports are not included and these would be significant. Total U.S. job losses because of the flawed KORUS textile text are expected to be at least 40,000 jobs.
"Since 1977, the real median hourly wage has decreased $.53 for workers in this country. In manufacturing, it has decreased $1.40. In the same timeframe, the U.S. has lost approximately 7 million manufacturing jobs, over 250,000 in the state of Indiana alone. These are middle class jobs, and each lost job means lost wages, lost health care, and lost retirement benefits for a family. It is getting harder and harder for America's working class to make it, and that is a shame. With the unemployment rate at 9.1%, we must do everything possible to create new jobs, and protect every single American job that exists. Congress should have a singular focus of promoting American workers and creating American jobs." said Peter Visclosky of Indiana. He added "Congress is going to pass three trade agreements that will cause a loss of jobs; necessitating the passage of a TAA package to train those whose jobs are being outsourced. What a terrible and wrongheaded policy. Further, the TAA package that Congress is considering would pare back the eligibility requirements and funding levels for displaced workers that were established in 2009. Are American workers less vulnerable to trade than in 2009? I find it ludicrous that we would choose to reduce this assistance when long term unemployment continues to plague millions of American families.
"All three of these agreements are similar to NAFTA, and we know, all too well, the effects of NAFTA. In 1993, before the enactment of NAFTA, we had a small trade surplus of about $1.6 billion with Mexico. NAFTA was enacted in 1994 and by 1995 that surplus had turned into a deficit of almost $16 billion. By 2007, this deficit had grown to a staggering $75 billion. These policies have displaced millions of jobs, and we cannot afford to aggravate the problem with more misguided trade agreements. Further, the jobs that aren't displaced are diminished through depressed wages and benefits."

Unsustainable Component of ObamaCare Scrapped

Citing cost concerns, the Obama administration said Friday it has halted a long-term care insurance program that was part of the massive health care law passed in 2010.
Called the CLASS Act (Community Living Assistance Services and Supports), the program was canceled by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius after a 19-month effort to find a way to make it financially viable.
In a letter to Congress, Sebelius wrote, "Despite our best analytical efforts, I do not see a viable path forward for CLASS implementation at this time."
OKLAHOMA CITY (October 18, 2011) – State Rep. Mike Ritze said today that the failure of a long-term care program under ObamaCare highlights the legislation’s many weaknesses.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius cancelled the Community Living Assistance Services and Support program on Oct. 14, citing the fact that the statute required her to ensure the program could be solvent for 75 years and that she could not do so.
“The long-term care program is being scrapped for the time being, because there is a requirement that it be sustainable and affordable to move forward,” Ritze (R-Broken Arrow) said. “First, the individual insurance mandate is struck down because it is unconstitutional. Now, this program, which was supposed to create health care savings, has failed. A majority of Americans already didn’t like ObamaCare, but at this rate we’re going to see some of its supporters distance themselves from it.”
Ritze said the best course for the federal government is to get out of the health care industry, because regulation does more harm than good.
“The best way  for government to help is to get out of the way,” Ritze said. “With the government already involved in 50 to 60 percent of medical care before ObamaCare kicks in, is it any wonder that the industry is suffering? It’s time for the free market to provide solutions.”
Ritze, a physician and surgeon, said he plans to reintroduce legislation to nullify ObamaCare.
“I was the House author of legislation to opt-out of the ObamaCare mandates,” Ritze said. “I have also introduced legislation for the complete nullification of ObamaCare, as lawmakers in 12 other states have done.”

Ron Paul Releases the ONLY Presidential Candidate Balanced Budget Proposal

Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) unveiled a balanced budget proposal, Plan to Restore America, October 17 that would cut nearly $1 trillion — $981 billion — from the President’s budget proposal in the single fiscal year of 2013 and eliminate the annual deficits completely two years later.
No other presidential candidate has revealed a balanced budget in any number of years, including the incumbent President Barack Obama. And no sitting congressman or senator has proposed a budget plan that would balance the budget in less than 30 years other than Congressman Paul’s son, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (whose proposal would balance the budget within five years).
“A lot of people will say that cutting a trillion dollars in one year, that sounds radical,” the Texas congressman and obstetrician quipped at a press conference announcing the proposal. “But you know, I operate on the assumption that the radicals have been in charge way too long. Both from left and right, we have heard the arguments that deficits don’t really matter. And they really haven’t mattered for a very long time or we wouldn’t have this debt.”
President Barack Obama has proposed “spending cuts” of  $3.1 trillion in recent months, but those cuts would be cuts from expected spending increases in the budget “baseline,” and Obama’s cuts are phased in over 10 years (and mostly on the back end of the 10 years). Paul’s cuts would be in a single budget year and cut real dollar spending by more than $800 billion from fiscal 2012 to fiscal 2013.
Paul’s program would eliminate the Transportation Security Agency and all foreign aid, abolish five cabinet-level agencies, and freeze most mandatory spending at fiscal 2006 levels. “We get rid of five departments, and that’s a start,” he joked in his October 17 press conference. The Paul proposal would eliminate the Departments of Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, Interior, and Education, but would transfer some operations — such as Pell Grants and management of national parks — to other cabinet-level agencies. Paul said he would accomplish the cuts without federal employee layoffs, noting that “nobody gets laid off immediately, they get laid off through attrition.”
Included in a plan is a 10% reduction in the federal workforce, slashes in Congressional pay and perks, and curbs excessive federal travel. To stand with the American People, President Paul will take a salary of $39,336, approximately equal to the median personal income of the American worker.
His plan lowers the corporate tax rate to 15%, making America competitive in the global market. It also allows American companies to repatriate capital without additional taxation, spurring trillions in new investment. It extends all Bush tax cuts, abolishes the Death Tax, and ends taxes on personal savings, allowing families to build a nest egg.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

U.S. Senators Seek Input from Governor Fallin

Governors Discuss National Legislative Priorities for 2012, Federal Legislation Impacting State Budgets
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today joined other members of the National Governors Association (NGA) Executive Committee for a day of meetings in Washington, D.C., to discuss legislative priorities and federal legislation impacting the states and state budgets.  The governor also met with a group of U.S. senators who previously served as governors.
The Executive Committee discussed potential legislative policies on issues such as the economy, health care, education and public safety.  The governors also discussed what the possible impact to state budgets would be from any budget cuts proposed by the congressional “Super Committee.”
The former governors now serving as U.S. senators sought input from the NGA Executive Committee on deficit reduction and how Washington can utilize tax dollars more efficiently.
“The Executive Committee meetings gave me a chance to help shape the priorities of the NGA and promote the successful, pro-business reforms we have enacted in Oklahoma,” Fallin said.  “Meeting with the former governors who are now serving in the U.S. Senate allowed me to share with them how federal policies regarding the economy, health care and other issues could impact our state and our state budgets.”
During today’s meetings, the NGA Executive Committee also will made plans for the NGA winter meetings.

New Transportation Plan Vital for Economic Success & Job Growth in Oklahoma

Oklahoma Now: New Transportation Plan Vital for Economic Success & Job Growth in Oklahoma
By Governor Mary Fallin
I have said many times before that my first priority as governor is to bring more and better jobs to the state of Oklahoma. To that end, I’ve worked with other lawmakers to develop and implement a series of job creating initiatives that will help to deliver the kind of business-friendly environment that leads to private sector job growth.
This week, I am announcing the next step in that pro-jobs agenda: the “Bridge Improvement and Turnpike Modernization Plan.”
Having safe, modern and easily traveled roads and bridges is important for commuters, for commerce and for job creation. As my secretary of transportation once told me, businesses don’t want to locate on a dirt road. They want a modern transportation infrastructure servicing their needs.
Unfortunately, the state of Oklahoma’s bridges have long been an impediment to economic growth. For years, Oklahoma has topped the national “bad bridges” lists. Currently, we have 706 bridges on the state highway system that are identified as structurally deficient.
Under the Bridge Improvement and Modernization Plan, we’ll bring that number down to zero by 2019.
We got started this week when I asked the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) to add another 126 projects to its 8-year work plan, bringing the total number of structurally deficient bridges set to be repaired up to 539. To repair the remaining bridges, I’m asking our Legislature to make a financial commitment to fixing our bridges. By passing legislation to add an additional $15 million to the annual increases in the Rebuilding Oklahoma Access and Driver Safety (ROADS) fund, ODOT will have the resources it needs to virtually eliminate structurally deficient bridges on the state highway system.
The plan doesn’t stop there though. We’re also going to inject extra resources and energy into the county-level efforts to improve locally maintained bridges. For starters, ODOT predicts that the disassembling of the current I-40 Crosstown bridge in Oklahoma City will leave us with 1,500 to 1,800 50-foot steel beams in good condition that can be safely reused at the county level. ODOT predicts these beams can aid in the construction of around 300 new county bridges.
To make sure that counties have the resources they need to continue these improvements, I’m again asking the Legislature to make a financial commitment to transportation infrastructure improvement in the next legislative session by increasing the funding for the County Improvement for Roads and Bridges (CIRB) fund. By shifting the percentage of revenue from motor vehicle taxes and fees that fund CIRB from 15 percent to 20 percent, we can generate an additional $20 million a year for local road and bridge improvement, an investment that is sorely needed.
Finally, the last component of our new transportation plan addresses the increased congestion on two of our most widely traveled roads: the Kilpatrick Turnpike in Oklahoma City and the Creek Turnpike in Tulsa. At the current rate of traffic increases, both of these roads will be extremely congested by 2016, meaning longer commutes, less commerce and serious problems for two of our largest cities. That’s why I’m asking the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority to pursue significant plans for capacity and safety improvements to these two roads.
The Bridge Improvement and Turnpike Modernization Plan lays out an aggressive and effective course of action to deal with our road and bridge problems. It will move Oklahoma from one of the worst states in the nation for bad highway bridges to one of the top 5. And it will provide the safe, modern and efficient transportation infrastructure that our citizens deserve and that businesses demand. It does all of this without raising taxes, tolls or fees. It’s a true win-win situation for Oklahoma. I hope you agree: it’s time to get to work!

Report Shows Income Taxes Lifting Oklahoma to Double-Digit Growth

General Revenue Fund Report Shows Income Taxes Lifting Oklahoma to Double-Digit Growth in First Quarter of Year
OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma General Revenue Fund tax collections racked up 12.1 percent growth in the first quarter of the fiscal year, Office of State Finance Director Preston Doerflinger announced Monday as he released the GRF report for September.
Total collections, led by growth in income tax receipts, exceeded $1.3 billion for the three-month period.  That is $143.1 million, or 12.1 percent, more than last year and 7 percent more than expected.
For September, total collections were up by 14.5 percent from same month a year ago and topped the estimate upon which the Fiscal Year 2012 state budget was based by 6.3 percent.
"Our growth has been propelled by particularly strong income tax collections, reflecting hiring across many sectors, continued activity in the oil patch and an uptick in manufacturing jobs," Doerflinger said. "We also have seen steady growth in sales taxes. 
"This is in stark contrast with the national economy, which seems stuck at 9.1 percent unemployment, compared to Oklahoma's jobless rate of 5.6 percent in the latest report from the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission," he said.
"We've seen a dramatic jump in gross production taxes, compared with a year ago, because of the rise in drilling as oil and natural gas companies employ new technology to increase their production," Doerflinger said.
Gov. Mary Fallin said, "The latest revenue report brings us more great news and is further proof the Oklahoma economy is moving in the right direction. To carry this momentum forward, we must continue to pursue pro-growth, pro-business policies that create an environment that promotes further job growth and investment."
For the year, gross production taxes are up 36 percent, although natural gas prices dipped somewhat for several weeks, reducing the amount of anticipated revenues from that source.
Doerflinger, who is secretary of finance in Gov. Fallin's cabinet, said the loss in expected gross production revenue is being more than offset by income tax and sales tax growth.
Income and sales taxes are the biggest sources of revenue accruing to the GRF and the two tax areas economists generally look at most to gauge economic strength.
For September, combined corporate and personal income taxes totaled almost $257 million, which is up 8.4 percent over the same month a year ago, while exceeding the estimate by 11.3 percent. First-quarter income tax receipts are up 11.7 percent from last year and are 16.5 percent more than the estimate.
September sales tax collections increased by 7.4 percent from a year ago. Sales tax receipts were a fraction off the estimate in September. For the first quarter, they are up 7.3 percent from FY-2011, while topping the estimate by 1.2 percent.
Motor vehicle tax collections were down for September and for the first quarter.
Total collections to the GRF for the first quarter of FY-2012 were $1,323.7 million. This amount was $143.1 million and 12.1 percent above first quarter collections for FY-2011 and $87.9 million, or 7.1 percent, above the total estimate for the first quarter of FY-2012. 
Total collections for the GRF in September were $526.2 million. This amount was $66.5 million and 14.5 percent above collections for the same month in 2010 and $31.4 million or 6.3 percent above the monthly estimate for 2011.

OK Top 100 Tax Delinquencies

The Oklahoma Tax Commission is required by statute to publish information regarding some of the largest uncollected tax liabilities owed to the State of Oklahoma and its citizens.  This listing of the “Top 100 Tax Delinquencies” is composed of persons who owe delinquent taxes, including interest, penalties, fees and costs in excess of $25,000 which are unpaid for more than 90 days and for which a tax warrant has been filed. 
Prior to information being posted on the web, several attempts have been made to contact the taxpayer regarding these debts.
The current amount of tax, penalty, and interest due may differ from the judgment amount as a result of partial payments and/or accrual of additional penalty and interest.  This listing is updated on a daily basis, as necessary.
Delinquent number one is Bruce Bonnett. According to the Tax Commission Bonnett owes a whopping $111-million. That's more than the other 99 on the list combined. Bonnett spent several years in prison for bank fraud, but was released in 2003 and, according to the tax commission, has yet to pay a single dime of the $111 million.
What is being done to collect the taxes?
Marjorie Welch and her legal team at the Oklahoma Tax Commission have the job of trying to collect from Bonnett and all the others. When it comes to the worst offenders, she says, it's easier said than done.
"We can only do what the law allows us to do," said Welch.
Attorney General Drew Edmondson says, in this kind of economy, the state must find new ways to collect the money it's owed.
"I think we should more aggressively pursue the obligations that are owed to the state of Oklahoma by delinquent taxpayers… literally hundreds of millions of dollars that are owed to the state," said Edmondson.
The list is below as of October 12, 2011.
Company/DBA Name
Tax Type
























Cigarette Tax



















Motor Fuel Tax (Gasoline)




Estate of










Bingo Charity Game




Estate of


Motor Fuel Tax (Gasoline)



Estate of












Bingo Charity Game
















Special Fuel Decal Fee

Motor Fuel Tax (Gasoline)







Cigarette Tax


E. M. S. INC



Motor Fuel Tax (Gasoline)


Non-intoxicating Bev

Gross Production












Cigarette Tax


Aircraft Excise














Motor Fuel Tax (Gasoline)

Cigarette Tax




Motor Fuel Tax (Gasoline)











Motor Fuel Tax (Gasoline)











Coin Device Decal/Permit