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State Questions on November Ballot
This is the time of year when voters start researching and asking about the state questions which will be on the November ballot. Unlike two years ago, the number of questions should fit on a single page this time, so hopefully the task of researching these questions won't be as time consuming.
I thought I would share my personal opinions about the six state questions you will be voting on in November. Each of these questions was approved by the Legislature last session.
I very much support state questions 758, 759, 765 and 766. I very much oppose 762 and 764.
State Question 758 lowers the amount by which an increase in a property tax assessment can be charged to the taxpayer from 5% down to 3%. This would significantly delay the rapid increase in property taxes that many taxpayers have been forced to deal with over the years. As such, this is probably the most important state question on the ballot this year.
State Question 759 removes large parts of the state's affirmative action programs. For the purposes of employment, education and contracting, this important reform would allow individuals to be considered based on merit as opposed to politically charged affirmative action programs.
State Question 762 takes the Governor out of the process for approving certain actions of the Pardon and Parole Board. I couldn't be more opposed to this measure. In light of recent board actions to approve the communication of offenders who are supposed to be incarcerated under the voter-approved 85% rule, the Governor's role in the process is more important than ever before. Unelected board members should never be the sole determiners of a criminal's release into society. The voters can't hold unelected board members to account, but they sure can hold the Governor to account – which is why the Governor must remain part of the process. A Governor has to think twice before approving each release because he/she can be held responsible by the voters. That's the way it should be.
State Question 764 issues up to 300 million dollars of new debt. I opposed this proposal. The state already has billions of dollars of debt on the books and regardless of the merits of the projects, the insanity has to stop at some point.
State Question 765 abolishes the unelected commission which has overseen the Department of Human Services, and makes the director of the department directly appointed by and accountable to the Governor. This is a needed reform because it would allow the voters to hold the Governor accountable for inappropriate actions by the department.
State Question 766 ensures that the County Assessor cannot tax intangible personal property owned by businesses. Passage of this important initiative is vital for small business owners who could be terribly punished if their intangible property (goodwill, trademarks, client lists etc.) were to come under taxation. Passage of this question would also remove the Business Activity Tax which has complicated the tax returns of so many businesses.
If you have specific questions about these questions, please do not hesitate to email me at Jason.Murphey@okhouse.gov.