Senator Bingman backs Crain’s personhood bill, supports some tax credits, encourages Republican presidential primary voters
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Published: 01-Mar-2012

Expressing satisfaction at passage of a supplemental appropriation for National Board Certified Teachers and other purposes, Senate President Pro Temp Brian Bingman today (Thursday, March 1) told reporters he had not heard discussion about any other potential special expenditures in the current fiscal year. 

Bingman reemphasized his support for Tulsa Senator Brian Crain’s “Personhood Bill,” a statute affirming the Sooner State’s pro-life sympathies modeled on Missouri legislation, which has been upheld in federal litigation.

He was skeptical of plans for a constitutional amendment, including a possible ballot initiative, on the personhood issue. Bingman said, “Sen. Crain’s bill alleviates the need to put something on the ballot.” Asked if he wants to ban abortions in Oklahoma, Bingman replied, “I’d like to see Roe v. Wade go away.” 

In a discussion with state Capitol reporters, the Sapulpa Republican echoed the views of House Appropriations and Budget Chairman Earl Sears, saying, “There is going to be some compromise and negotiation. We will be studying to find the revenues to start the tax cuts, and of course we have to take a careful look at tax credits.”

On the issue of transferability of certain credits, he restated his belief that transferable tax credits “can be an effective mechanism. I’ve been supportive of those. It can be costly to rehab old buildings. We have operating businesses like the Mayo Hotel in Tulsa and the Skirvin in Oklahoma City that were rehabilitated thanks to a tax credit. They bring in a lot of sales tax dollars.”

Bingman continued, pointing out there are “$1 billion in credits of various kinds.” He said they should all be looked at, and repeated that some may go away before the end of this legislative session. In response to a question from CapitolBeatOK, Bingman indicated a tax credit helped trigger investments by the wind industry which “brought a lot of jobs and investments to the state.” 

Bingman aligned himself with the views of, among others, state Rep. Jason Nelson, an Oklahoma City Republican who yesterday opposed in House deliberations a proposal to prevent enforcement of graduation requirements for high school students, specifically the End-of-Instruction (EOI) tests that have become a challenge for some senior students. 

Bingman said, “I think it is disingenuous to relieve those standards. I think we need to look at the reasons those individuals were unable to pass. We knew [when the law first passed] that not everybody would pass. I am open to looking at alternatives.”

Looking to Tuesdays March 6 Republican presidential primary, Bingman said he has not endorsed anyone. He reflected that this year’s process, and frequent debates among the hopefuls, has been thorough. He reflected he did not remember another year when the Oklahoma primary was so significant, as reflected in the appearance of paid television advertisements for or against the final four contenders: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. 

His comments on the president race led to a brief exchange with reporters about low voter turnout, the responsibility to vote and what motivates citizens to vote in a presidential primary. Bingman said, “when something happens to them personally, when a job or paycheck is effected by the economy, it affects voters.” Pointing to high federal spending levels, Bingman said mounting deficits “have got to hit the pocketbook” of average Americans. 

When reporters pressed the Senate leader to name his personal preference for president o the United States, Bingman replied he would support “whoever can beat Obama.” Smiling, he added, “I kind of like Tom Coburn,” speculating the U.S. Senator from Muskogee might benefit if Republican primary voters remain deadlocked and the party faces its first brokered convention of the modern era.  

Saying work in the Senate was “rolling smoothly” after four weeks, Bingman also applauded the decision of Trans-Canada to finish a pipeline from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast.  

When news of the Pipeline project came earlier this week, Bingman said, in a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK, ““Gas prices have more than doubled since President Obama’s first day in office.  Meanwhile, we’ve got plenty of oil just sitting in a terminal in Cushing, Oklahoma, waiting to be refined.

“President Obama continues to stonewall a common-sense business plan in the Keystone XL pipeline — one that would create thousands of jobs and put us on the path to an energy future powered by American resources and ingenuity.

“I applaud TransCanada for proceeding with construction of the southern portion of Keystone XL.  Thousands of Oklahomans will see the benefit in jobs and dollars flowing into our economy, and our country will be more secure for it.” 

TransCanada also announced Monday (February 27) it planned to reapply for a presidential permit to complete Keystone XL, an effort intended to move oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast, the Cushing facility. Earlier this year, President Obama denied the project as then envisioned, but said reapplication including a new route for the construction could be made.

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