Democratic Leader Scott Inman jabs at tax cut, defends water plan, backs Capitol spending
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Published: 15-Feb-2013

OKLAHOMA CITY – Marking the end of the second week of the 2013 legislative session, House Democratic Leader Scott Inman stressed four main points in his prepared comments to members of the state Capitol press corps. 

Inman, a Del City Democrat, asserted Gov. Mary Fallin “should turn her attention to roads, bridges and health care. The numbers don’t add up when it comes to the Republican’ proposed income tax cut.”

Second, he said the Democratic Caucus supports “the governor’s proposal to allow local control of tobacco use. We stand, as a caucus, with the governor on this issue.”

Inman took issue with a Republican he described as a friend, state Rep. Paul Wesselhoft. Inman said he was concerned about the south Oklahoma City legislator’s “proposal to repeal the ‘Water for 2060’ plan. We hope there is a serious conversation about this. Why would he push this, that is our question.”

Inman continued, “We heard some comments that supposedly this plan was an example of former House Speaker Kris Steele supporting the United Nations’ Agenda 21 plan. We don’t believe Kris Steele had any intention of doing any such thing, and we certainly don’t, and none of us were thinking about that issue when we voted for it.”

Inman repeated what he characterized as a “passionate belief” that Fallin “should revisit her decision against acceptance of federal dollars for Medicaid expansion. The state already has $600 million in uncompensated medical care, and working with the federal government on this would be a way to address that gap.”

In a brief exchange with reporters, Rep. Inman was asked about the Republican push to shift the state’s workers’ compensation system from a litigation-oriented structure to an administrative plan. He commented, “The new proposal comes as we are still dealing with the reforms the Legislature supported 18 months ago. We think that medical costs in the workers compensation system should be addressed, rather than this shift.

“Why should the state embark on a plan to have two different systems operating side by side? The proposal we supported just a year and a half ago has not yet had a chance even to go into effect.”

This week, Republican leaders indicated they had reached agreement with the governor to devote $10 million to remedy some of the most immediate problems with the state Capitol itself, including the flaking of granite on the south exterior. 

Inman stated, “It’s a step in the right direction. We certainly as a caucus cannot support a bond issue for this at the same time the majority is wanting to reduce state revenue. I’m a little concerned because we’re using some of that $10 million to study the issue, and we study things to death up here. Again, the $10 million is not sufficient for the job, but it’s a step in the right direction.”

Democrats are outnumbered in the state House, 72-29. However, Inman and his colleagues proved effective in forming occasional coalition with dissident Republicans on budget and other issues in the 2011-12 cycle. 

In his Feb. 14 briefing for reporters, Inman was flanked by state Rep. Mike Shelton of Oklahoma City, a veteran Democratic leader, and Rep. Kevin Matthews of Tulsa, a first-term member. 

You may contact Patrick B. McGuigan at Patrick@capitolbeatok.com and follow us on Twitter: @capitolbeatok.

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