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Letters to the Editor: July 6, 2016

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Not again

Democracy; a word that gives most Americans a warm and fuzzy feeling despite idiotic Bush promises to bring “democracy” to the Middle East. But to the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) and its bastard child advocacy organization OCPA Impact, democracy is an obscene word, and they are back in court wasting taxpayer money crying about the proposed penny sales tax to fund education improvements.

Last winter, they jabbered the proposal was “unconstitutional”(it’s not), and now they are rehashing the dissent in that case (the losing argument) in a new attempt to muzzle the people’s right to speak on an important issue.

Apparently, OCPA believes the people of Oklahoma are too stupid to understand that a penny increase in the sales tax really is a penny increase in the sales tax they already pay.

OCPA Impact claims it has polled Oklahoma voters and says Oklahomans are in favor of teacher pay raises but they aren’t sold on giving more public money to state universities and they do not want more taxes.

“They want to see the teach pay raise happen… But they don’t want to pay the highest taxes in the country,” Bond said. I can’t find any reference to this phantom poll on OCPA’s website or online. In fact, one recent SoonerPoll of over 1,000 likely voters found 64 percent say they would support the tax, up seven points since November. Twenty-nine percent oppose the tax and 7 percent have no opinion. A blog published by OCPA wails Oklahoma’s “education blob” threatens “democracy’s survival,” failing to grasp the irony of OCPA’s direct threat to democracy in action: allowing the people to choose if they want to pay higher taxes to fund education.

If the people don’t want the tax increase, Mr. Bond, as you claim, they can vote it down — if OCPA ever allows them to express their opinion.

I am personally thankful that the state has a visionary like David Boren as president of OU; he understands that to build a world-class university, you need to hire the best, just as OU does with its athletic program (not funded at taxpayer expense). You get what you pay for, so Mr. Boren couldn’t care less about asinine right-wing efforts to destroy government in Oklahoma by slashing taxes; his mission is making OU the best it can be.

OCPA president Jonathan Small obviously knows absolutely nothing about higher education and should just shut up and let Mr. Boren do his job.

The real question is who is funding OCPA; it should be a requirement by law that the top 10 donors to these “nonpartisan” think tanks should be revealed to the public. But transparency in politics is not a priority of the OCPA; silencing the people is.

DW Tiffee Norman

God-given power

Earlier this year, Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford in an Oklahoma City newspaper called for an end to wind energy federal tax credits. He says this is because the wind industry is strong enough to stand on its own two feet. Is he also calling for an end to federal tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, which has benefited from tens of billions of dollars of such federal largess each year?

Government records indicate that from 2009 to 2014, Lankford accepted 750,000 dollars form the oil and gas industry in political contributions, more by far than any other contributor class.

Lankford needs to stand behind Oklahomans and their quest for better jobs and economic benefits of our natural resources, including wind and solar. With all the geopolitical and economic problems associated with our fossil fuel dependence, just witness what is going on with the state’s economy today as well as our serious earthquake issues, it is clear that a state like Oklahoma which is blessed with wind and solar energy needs to capitalize on these God-given resources as much as possible. And we need a senator who supports that economic development rather than cow-tow to his fossil fuel donors and their interests.

Jay Hanas Edmond

Correction

A June 22 OKG Pick item (Calendar, Oklahoma Gazette) listed the wrong day for the Fiesta Friday event. The next block parties are July 29 and Aug. 26 at SW 25th Street between Harvey and Robinson avenues in Capitol Hill.

Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to jchancellor@okgazette.com or sent online at okgazette.com. Include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

Opinions expressed on the commentary page, in letters to the editor and elsewhere in this newspaper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ownership or management.

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