Okie Funk 2012 In Review, Part One

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(I’m running excerpts from 2012 posts on Okie Funk this holiday week. I thank you for following this blog, and I wish you the best for 2013.—Kurt Hochenauer)

The GOP push to grant personhood to human embryos, which can be viewed as an attack against contraceptive methods, is yet another absurd side show to needlessly incite a segment of the Oklahoma Republican voting base this year, but such an extremist law would surely face a major lawsuit and would never be enacted.

Even Mississippi voters—yes, MISSISSIPPI--voted down a similar measure last year. That’s one of the places Oklahoma often competes with in the race to create the nation’s first official Christian state theocracy.

Religious Zealotry Fuels Personhood Movement, Jan. 17, 2012

But the basic problem with a drastic cut in the income tax without an increase in other taxes is the uncertainty over whether economic growth will actually follow and, if it does, create enough new tax money to offset revenue losses.

It seems like an obvious, dangerous risk, especially for a state that has implemented budget cuts in recent years because of previous tax cuts and the economic downturn that began in 2008. It would obviously be more prudent to make no cut or a smaller cut in the income tax rate right now to protect the state’s basic services and quality of life.
The Oklahoma Policy Institute, a progressive think tank, has made a compelling case against the income tax proposal, but so far the state’s corporate power structure has not forcefully opposed more income tax cuts like it opposed State Question 744, the defeated 2010 ballot measure that would have funded education here at a regional average. The proposed tax cuts, of course, will primarily benefit the wealthiest Oklahomans.

It’s a risky game. Will new businesses come here if our educational systems face even more cuts and if our infrastructure continues to deteriorate? Probably not. Could the tax cuts be rescinded in the future if the predicted economic growth doesn’t happen? That’s extremely unlikely.

Dangerous Risk, Feb.16, 2012

The corporate media and power structure here have given President Barack Obama a rude welcome during his first visit to Oklahoma even though the president used his trip to announce an energy policy that directly benefits the state economically.

The president visited the oil hub of Cushing Thursday to announce he was going to push to expedite the southern portion of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which will run from Oklahoma to the Texas Gulf Coast. This will lead to both temporary and permanent job growth in Oklahoma and secure Cushing’s viability as a significant, national oil hub.

The president said the pipeline, which will be built by TransCanada, will relieve the current glut of oil in Cushing. (Note the word “glut.) The Obama administration has indicated it isn’t opposed to the northern section of the pipeline, which runs from Canada to Oklahoma, but that environmental concern over its placement in Nebraska has delayed its approval. One of those initially expressing those concerns was Nebraska Gov. David Heineman, a Republican.

So what do you get in Oklahoma when you announce a job-producing, energy initiative for the state, note your help at least indirectly for a Republican governor even though you’re a Democrat and show overall strong support for the fossil fuel industry?

You get rudeness, arrogance and ignorance thrown in your face. You’re maligned. You’re scolded. But Oklahomans are such nice people, right? Well, maybe in meaningless, hollow gestures. The truth is the Obama hatred in this state is as irrational as some of the religious-inspired legislation making its way into law at the capitol this year.

Oklahoma Gets Rude Oklahoma Welcome, March 22, 2012