BUDGET DEBATE IMPACTS BUSINESS LEGISLATION
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, June 23, 2017 – The Research Institute for Economic Development (RIED), a non-partisan organization and producer of the annual RIED Report, a grading system of Oklahoma legislators’ votes on key economic development and business issues, announced today that 11 members of the state Senate and 12 members of the House of Representatives scored a perfect 100 on the 2017 RIED Report. The scores were awarded to lawmakers who served during the first session of the 56th Oklahoma Legislature that began February 6th and adjourned May 26th.
Four freshmen, Julie Daniels (SD 29), Tom Dugger (SD 21), Lonnie Paxton (SD 23) and Adam Pugh
(SD 41), are among Senate members receiving perfect scores. Others are President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz (SD 15), Stephanie Bice (SD 22), AJ Griffin (SD 20), Ron Sharp (SD 17), Wayne Shaw (SD 3), Gary Stanislawski (SD 35) and Roger Thompson (SD 8).
Four freshmen, Rhonda Baker (HD 60), Avery Frix (HD 13), Dell Kerbs (HD 26) and Kevin West
(HD 54) are among House members receiving perfect scores. Others are House Speaker Charles McCall (HD 22), Josh Cockroft (HD 27), Elise Hall (HD 100), Randy McDaniel (HD 83), Casey Murdock
(HD 61), Glen Mulready (HD 68), Terry O’Donnell (HD 23) and Steve Vaughan (HD 37).
Under the RIED evaluation system, legislators earn positive points when they support job creation and economic development issues. Points are deducted when they introduce or vote for legislation that negatively impacts Oklahoma’s business climate. A score of 70 and above represents a passing grade while 69 and below represents a failing grade.
“Facing a $900 million shortfall, lawmakers filed a broad range of proposals intended to fill the revenue gap including measures to broaden the tax base and to eliminate several tax credits and other proven business incentives,” said Susan Winchester, RIED president. “Fortunately, most of these measures did not move forward. I was especially proud of our new legislators who took a strong stance in opposition to these bills. Positive business growth and job creation are critical to the future of Oklahoma.”
Three House seats (HD 28, HD 75, HD 76) and two Senate seats (SD 44, SD 45) were vacant for all or a portion of the 2017 legislative session. Despite this unusual occurrence, 99 legislative members received passing scores of 70 or higher including 31 Senate members (85%) and 68 House members (72%). Overall, 75% of the total legislative membership scored 70 or higher.
“Stimulating Oklahoma’s economy through pro-growth, sound business policy should always be a primary goal of the legislature,” said Greg Love, RIED board chairman. “Unfortunately, the past three years of budget deficits have shed light on not only the need for continued growth and diversification of Oklahoma’s economy, but also the manner and mechanism for how to appropriate tax dollars. We must collectively devise a more efficient way to operate and fund state government. The legislature has to be willing to endorse and support a pro-business agenda. Our global economy demands it, and in the ultra-competitive marketplace, a small state like Oklahoma absolutely needs to stand out. I urge members of the Senate and House to focus their attention on advancing our economy. The next generation is depending on it.”
The 2017 RIED Report is available at riedreport.com.
The Research Institute for Economic Development was founded in 1997 and promotes economic growth through the evaluation of business, job and economic growth issues considered by the Oklahoma Legislature. RIED is non-partisan and does not lobby issues, endorse candidates or campaigns.