"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Oklahoman Editorials on the OK Legislature -- Not Flattering but True!


When this site was started it was with the understanding that we would call it like we saw it.  At the time the Democrats were selling out to special interests but now we can truthfully say that it looks like it is not only Democrats but Republicans as well.  Unfortunately it has been happening in the halls of Congress and  now it is appearing in our legislatures around the Country.  Special interests are taking precedence over the taxpayers with budgets being negotiated behind the scenes.  Because I live in Oklahoma, I have been covering the final days of the Oklahoma Legislature and have taken away from this process that it is not the way to do business.  We, the taxpayers, deserve better than this.  We have a right to see the budget before it is voted on and signed by the Governor because the members of the legislature are using our tax dollars.

The Oklahoman newspaper decided to do two editorials yesterday that describe the lack of common sense out of our Oklahoma legislators.  These people get paid almost $40,000 a year for four months in session along with State Medical Insurance like they are a full time State employee.  We hear how they meet in committee and work so hard during the other eight months.  If this session is an example of the best they can do in eight months before session, the citizens of Oklahoma deserve a rebate of their salaries because they are grossly overpaid.  I already thought we have too many Representatives and Senators for such a small state who are paid too much money in comparison to what teachers are paid for 9-10 months of work.  Now I know it is a fact.

Maybe if they spent less time on social issues and more time on passing a budget earlier in the session so taxpayers know exactly what is in the budget, our state would be better run.  How about requiring legislators to write their own bills instead of using lobbyists?  Why do they submit 1200 bills a session?  How many bills can you pass on abortion -- forgot that is the #1 issue not infrastructure from some of the Representatives.  How many bills has this group of legislators passed since coming to the legislature as the majority party that have been declared whole or partly unconstitutional or told if you pass that bill it will be overturned by the Courts?  Is this the best that Oklahoma can do with our elected representatives because it is not good enough IMHO!

Now understand why they cannot do a two year budget because they wait until the last few days to pass a one-year budget so no one has a chance to see what is in the budget until it is passed.  Did they fund education first?  NO!  Same as it has been since they passed funding education first in 2002 -- only one time have they honored that pledge and as usual it did not get funded first this year so public schools will continue to tread water.  These are the people we send to Oklahoma City to be our voices?  Looks like we need new voices as this bunch of Representatives are not doing their job.  We also need less Representatives because it is obvious that having 101 for this small state leads to inability to get the job done for the citizens of Oklahoma.

If the Capitol fell down would this group of Representatives tell everyone that it was more important to give a small tax cut to 51% of the people where only the rich see real cuts then fix the Capitol?  These people who are elected should be hanging their heads in shame instead of claiming a job well done -- they didn't do their job to fix infrastructure and haven't for sometime.  They have been cutting education funding, not giving pay raises to state employees (they finally get one this year), and allowing our roads and bridges to deteriorate and now you can add the deteriorating Capitol Building to that list.

Since the days when Todd Hiatt was Speaker, it has gone downhill.  With more Republican elected to the the House every two years it seems more social issues take center stage while education and infrastructure continue to take a back seat but look we have 'open carry' come this November.  That's more important then funding necessary items it seems.
Oklahoma House members kick the can on Capitol bond issue
The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: May 25, 2012  
It apparently will fall to Oklahoma voters to fix the state Capitol. The men and women who occupy the building have no stomach for it. 
The House of Representatives voted 77-15 Wednesday against a $200 million bond issue to pay for repairs at the Capitol, which has been in bad shape for years. Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, said members want the building repaired but, “I think it is a clear message that we need to find another alternative in funding.” Like what? Democrats called for a pay-as-you-go approach. That's nonsense.
Our guess is Oklahomans would approve using a bond issue to repair the Capitol because they get it. They understand that when their home needs significant repairs or remodeling, they can get a loan to pay for the work instead of trying to pay for it out of pocket immediately. In deciding whether to make the loan, the bank assesses the applicant's current debt and his ability to pay back the amount being requested. If everything checks out, the loan is granted.
Bond underwriters have done the same with Oklahoma and found that we can absolutely afford to borrow the amount needed to repair the Capitol, and then some. Bond issues are routinely used by states, including Oklahoma, for such infrastructure needs. And low interest rates make borrowing now all the more sensible. 
But that argument goes nowhere with lawmakers because they're worried about being labeled as deficit spenders like members of Congress. House Republicans had been most vocal in opposition, but as Wednesday's vote showed they have plenty of company from Democrats. These folks must pay cash for their homes and automobiles and for every major home repair.
The Capitol will get repaired someday, at a price much higher than today. Wonder if those who voted against this bond issue will take credit for that when the time comes?

Read more: http://newsok.com/oklahoma-house-members-kick-the-can-on-capitol-bond-issue/article/3678262#ixzz1w0fCX3s7
Then my nominee for the most stupid defeat of a bill was the one dealing with a child support fee being collected from deadbeat parents by the state. I had to read the editorial twice to make sure I was comprehending what I was reading.  How could this bill have not have passed with a unanimous vote?  It makes no sense to me why anyone but a deadbeat parent would be against the bill.  Why should the parent/child who is owed back child support have to pay a fee to the state.  Since the state has the means to collect from tax refunds and go after deadbeat parents, why not collect the fee from the deadbeat parent so the taxpayer isn't picking up the tab?  The bill made sense so what am I missing here?
Oklahoma lawmakers spike sensible child-support bill
The Oklahoman Editorial Published: May 25, 2012 
Occasionally, legislative votes are real head-scratchers. Opposition to a child support measure certainly falls into that category. 
House Joint Resolution 1113, by state Rep. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City, would have approved Department of Human Services rules allowing the agency to recoup part of the cost of collecting delinquent child support payments by assessing a fee on those who fail to make payments. The fee was a whopping $25 for the delinquent parent to cover processing costs involved in collection efforts. The rules would have allowed the agency to also collect back child support payments from a parent's income tax refund.
Basically, deadbeat dads (or moms) would have been forced to pay a fee and lose tax refund money when they fail to do financially right by their children. That seems like common sense to us. Yet the measure failed 47-46, needing 51 votes to pass. 
Currently, Nelson noted, taxpayers are covering the cost of fees required for collection efforts; the proposed rules would have placed that burden back on those creating the expense in the first place. Critics called it a backdoor effort to fund DHS through fee increases and said it was unfair to add to the burden of those who struggle to pay child support. 
We don't see how the fee is so egregious. Some may honestly struggle to make payments, but too often delinquent child support is just a form of child neglect. 
State Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, actually suggested the fee should be assessed on the child or the custodial parent, since they and not the deadbeat parent get the benefit of collecting the delinquent child support payment. We wish that were a joke. 
Unfortunately, dozens of lawmakers sided with the deadbeats and against the children needing financial support. We wish that were a joke, too.
Read more: http://newsok.com/oklahoma-lawmakers-spike-sensible-child-support-bill/article/3678260#ixzz1w0gtQXXI
Where is the Common Sense in the Oklahoma Legislature?  If this Legislature is an example of having a lot of social conservatives, then I would recommend we go back to electing economic conservatives who understand not fixing infrastructure today will cost more tomorrow and that our students are the leaders of future and deserve a great education not some of the mediocre ones they get in some Oklahoma schools.  My kids went to Norman schools after we moved here from Texas receiving a first rate education that should be available to every student in the state.



3 comments:

gkdunlap said...

I would like to make a comment about you take on deadbeat dads. Four years ago, I was making $70,000 a year. My wife and I got divorced and I started paying $640 per month in child support to her for one child. Later that year I was laid off. I worked in Information Technology and that line of work simply disappeared. I started look for work in other career areas. The only work I could find was making $10.00. I continued to pay child support from money I withdraw from my IRA and paying a 10% penalty. My IRA dried up and I started having problems paying her child support. In 2010, my ex-wife filed for child support with DHS. DHS calculated my owed support from the day we got divorced to current adding 10 percent on any amount not paid. These amounts were compounded yearly. Therefore, if I didn’t pay 640 for one month at would calculate $640 + $64 then add another 10 percent on top of that for every year. I now owe $20,000 in child support and $4,000 in interest totaling $24,000. Recently I was laid off. I continue to get another job. This is a hard thing to do when you’re almost 60 years ago. I’m not sure how I’m pay rent and other commitments. I’m looking into living homeless if I can’t get another job.

Does this make me a deadbeat dad? If so, how would you have dealt with situation differently?

gkdunlap said...

I would like to make a comment about you take on deadbeat dads. Four years ago, I was making $70,000 a year. My wife and I got divorced and I started paying $640 per month in child support to her for one child. Later that year I was laid off. I worked in Information Technology and that line of work simply disappeared. I started look for work in other career areas. The only work I could find was making $10.00. I continued to pay child support from money I withdraw from my IRA and paying a 10% penalty. My IRA dried up and I started having problems paying her child support. In 2010, my ex-wife filed for child support with DHS. DHS calculated my owed support from the day we got divorced to current adding 10 percent on any amount not paid. These amounts were compounded yearly. Therefore, if I didn’t pay 640 for one month at would calculate $640 + $64 then add another 10 percent on top of that for every year. I now owe $20,000 in child support and $4,000 in interest totaling $24,000. Recently I was laid off. I continue to get another job. This is a hard thing to do when you’re almost 60 years ago. I’m not sure how I’m pay rent and other commitments. I’m looking into living homeless if I can’t get another job.

Does this make me a deadbeat dad? If so, how would you have dealt with situation differently?

Sharon said...

First of all I never said Deadbeat Dads, I said Deadbeat Parents and the article itself made sure everyone knew it was not just Deadbeat Dads but Mom's too.

Second the idea that information technology has disappeared makes me shake my head as that is a field my brother knows well and the company he works for has trouble hiring good IT people.

You asked what would I have done differently. I would have gotten a lawyer to ask the court to lower child support payments based on the fact I was unemployed and could not afford $640 a month. There are legal offices to help people that cannot afford to hire a lawyer like the one at the OU Law School. Then I would have paid something every month if only a little to show my child I cared about her well being.

I would go to work for any place that would hire me -- signs are out all over Norman. It wouldn't be my choice, but if I had to choose between being homeless and working, I would apply at McDonald's and show them I deserved to be in management with my background by working harder then anyone else.

BTW the editorial and my comments dealt with expecting the person who is owed the money to pay the $25 fee.

Bad things happen to people all the time during their life because it is not a perfect world. What you do during those times define who you are. Your child deserves to have been paid something even when you are unemployed. If you are unemployed again, why aren't you drawing unemployment?

Good Luck in what you choose to do but your child should have come first if only a small amount each month.