COMMENTARY: The Oklahoma budget scam is now exposed
On July 6, The Oklahoman ran a story along with another article confirming that Oklahoma has a surplus of $1.2 billion.
The Capitol was in a mad panic to pass tax raises and advocates for the teacher pay raises used the biggest fear-mongering tactics I’ve ever seen — and it worked. They had the whole state believing we were in a crisis. Conversations were null and void of fact and those that spoke the truth were called liars.
Now the truth has come to light. All those times I was called a liar for saying, “We don’t need taxes, we have cash on hand.” Well, I was right. Having a surplus now does not fix the years that came before this where educators felt left behind and ignored and the state was in a deficit. We can’t go back and retroactively give money to the past.
So often I have people on my Facebook page say, “If we have the money where was it ten years ago.” But that’s simply not how budgeting works. The conversation must remain in the now. Right now, at this very minute, we have a surplus of $1.2 billion – and that’s WITHOUT tax raises.
Another truth that has come to light: the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) has no interest in truth and has no interest in helping out my embattled colleagues that cracked under the pressure and voted yes for what the OEA wanted.
We fully funded education and passed a teacher pay raise the week before the walkout. The tax raises were passed the week before the walkout.
And every legislator that continued to cave to demands is now being targeted.
They’ll receive no help from the people they sacrificed their principles to help. I see the comments people write even in my own district, “All we have to do is get Tess out in the primary. Then we can work on electing the Democrat!”
House District 101, you learn who a person is when they are under immense pressure, as I was last session. I know my convictions. I know the truth. And I don’t back down. I don’t crack under pressure and I don’t give in to wild demands. I have the foresight to see past rhetoric and false narratives and I stand up for what I was elected to fight for. When I campaigned in my first election I promised you that I would fight to protect your personal liberties and guard your wallets from a greedy government. I did exactly that. Send me back and I’ll do it again.
Editor’s Note: Rep. Tess Teague is a Republican from Oklahoma City. In the August 28 primary, she is seeking her party’s nomination to serve another term. This commentary appeared earlier this week at the Sooner Politics website (http://www.soonerpolitics.org/editorial/guest-editorial-the-oklahoma-budget-scam-is-now-exposed). The Oklahoman noted on July 7, “Just $308.5 million of the $1.2 billion increase was due to tax increases approved by the Legislature in 2017. Put another way, collections would have surged dramatically even had no tax increases been approved.” (https://newsok.com/article/5600571/oklahoma-scissortales-tax-revenue-surge-contrasts-with-warnings)