In the August 19 Capitol Report segment on News9, the CBS affiliate in Oklahoma City, analyst Pat McGuigan used “air quotes” to make points. He said that in the wake of a unanimous and “100 percent correct” decision by the state Supreme Court, Oklahoma’s Republican legislative leaders have to make decisions. Are they really for the “right-sizing” of government promised in 2010, when the GOP took control of every part of Oklahoma government, or do the “realities” of governance require increased taxes and higher spending?
If they decide to recover tobacco levies struck down in the recent court ruling, Republicans must work with the Democratic minority, which previously backed a higher tobacco tax but stepped away from that as a means to pressure the GOP majority. McGuigan observed that “like him or not,” gubernatorial candidate Gary Richardson precisely pegged the Legislasture’s unconstitutional maneuvers. In dialogue with reporter Alex Cameron, McGuigan praised state Rep. Jason Murphey for his bluntness and candor.
In a series of blogs reposted on CapitolBeatOK, the six-term Republican detailed what had looked like – early in the 2017 legislative session – a line by-line examination of state government spending, laying the basis for efficiencies. However, the Republican leadership ultimately adopted an “Armageddon” strategy on the budget, pressuring conservatives to back a series of tax hikes masked as fee increases.