House Minority Leader Scott Inman is hopeful the 2016 Legislative Session debacle will give the Oklahoma Democratic Party a better chance in the next election. There are a number of good candidates who have filed in open seats and against some incumbent Republicans. A lot will depend on the fervor at the national level. At this point the Republican Party controls the House, Senate and Governor’s office at the state level.
The Oklahoma government has not been able to hide behind its state cloaks this year as news of the grim session reached the national media, including the New York Times, The Economist, The Washington Post, and the U.K. Guardian.
For starters, the Legislature tried to outlaw abortion which is protected under the federal constitution. It then reduced tax credits to the working poor while retaining tax cuts for the upper income brackets. And in a fizzling attempt, it tried to impeach the President over his letter to schools that transgender persons be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice. Public education and other essential services were also heavily cut in this year’s budget, along with cuts to many agencies.
Of course, the Republican Party is hopeful that the very conservative Oklahoman electorate will vote them into office again. Republican Party Chairman Pam Pollard has defended the Legislature’s performance this year by stating that they did their best given the circumstances. If that is the case, I would then sincerely not wish to be privy to their worst. To claim they protected roads and bridges is farcical enough. On May 20, the May Avenue bridge over Northwest Expressway collapsed. The bridge was last inspected in August, 2014.
I guess it wouldn’t be the mighty dollar that will be the winning vote for the Republican Party, if reelected. More tax cuts are on the books for the upper income bracket. And those lower income conservatives who miss out? Well they just justify it by knowing that the next life will be better.