You can watch Senator David Holt’s recent appearance on OETA’s “Oklahoma Forum” online here.
Senator David Holt will appear Sunday, February 27th at 1:00 p.m. on OETA’s “Oklahoma Forum.”
The topic of the program will be legislation at the Capitol addressing public employee collective bargaining, in light of recent debates around the country.
The Friday Paper published Senator David Holt’s first occasional column this week. Here is the text:
Tax Cuts, Binding Arbitration Top Holt’s Agenda
by David Holt, State Senator, District 30
February 25, 2010
First of all, I want to thank you for the honor of representing you in the Oklahoma Senate. Second, I want to thank Friday for this opportunity to communicate a few things happening in your name at your State Capitol, where a new era is dawning in 2011.
As you read this, both houses are completing their initial committee work. As a member of Education, Rules, Transportation, the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, and as the Vice Chair of Business and Commerce, I have been voting on bills in those areas.
I have also been pushing my own legislation. Two of my favorite bills address tax cuts (S.B. 70) and the repeal of binding arbitration (S.B. 826).
Regarding tax cuts, I believe there is an urgency now to schedule more reductions in the Oklahoma income tax rate, as we are less than a year from implementing the final tax cut on the books.
Regarding binding arbitration, this union-created process has been the law of the state for 17 years. It shifts the power to make local tax dollar decisions away from you and your representatives and towards an out-of-state attorney. My bill shifts the power back where it belongs.
Meanwhile, we have begun the process of redistricting. We recently received the initial numbers. The Oklahoma City metro grew 14 percent, outpacing the state and nation. As Vice Chair of the Redistricting Committee, responsible for Central Oklahoma, I will be directly involved in this process.
Finally, good governance begins at the local level, and so I will leave you with this – I am proud to endorse Pat Ryan and Meg Salyer for their re-election to the Oklahoma City Council. They are two people of great character and competence, and I strongly urge you to support their continued public service on Tuesday, March 1st.
If you ever need anything, or have an opinion to share, simply contact me through the information that appears on this editorial page every week. Thank you again for the honor of serving our community.
This week, committee consideration of Senate bills largely came to an end. That means those bills that weren’t heard have died for this year. I ended up with seven bills passed out of committee, including my binding arbitration bill. Now we transition to floor consideration of Senate bills, which began this week, and will pick up in earnest next week. I have already passed two of my seven bills through the Senate floor. I presented them Tuesday and fell victim to a Senate tradition I was unaware of. As the first freshman to present a bill on the floor, I endured 30 minutes of bizarre questions, various intentional distractions, and faked defeats. A good time was had by all.
Yesterday, the Business & Commerce Committee unanimously passed out my binding arbitration bill, SB 826. The latest version has the potential to bring significant reform to the system, and return some fairness for the taxpayer. What we passed out of committee was still a work in progress, and much work remains, but all the parties are at the table.
My tax cut bill (SB 70) will not receive a hearing. But, I am told Republican leadership in the Capitol wants to study comprehensive tax reform over the next year, and I’ll be involved in that process. This is a marathon, not a sprint! I’ll keep agitating. Thanks for your support of tax relief for Oklahomans, limits on the growth of government, and a better environment for economic growth.
McCarville Report discusses the new poll showing Oklahomans support tax cuts here.
Senator Holt’s first column ran this week in the Bethany Tribune. Here is the text:
State Capitol Report
By Senator David Holt
February 11, 2011
Greetings, Tribune reader! First of all, I want to thank you for the honor of representing you in the Oklahoma Senate. Second, I want to thank the Tribune for this occasional opportunity to update you on what’s going in your name at your State Capitol.
Business got started in November, when your Tribune delegation was sworn-in. Veteran legislators Rep. Sally Kern (R), Rep. Charles Key (R), and Sen. Cliff Branan (R) were joined by Rep. Elise Hall (R) and me. We contributed to record Republican majorities of 32-16 in the Senate and 70-31 in the House, led by a new Senate President Pro Tempore and a new Speaker of the House. Sen. Branan and I were elected to Senate Leadership. Sen. Branan was also named chair of Energy, while Rep. Kern will chair Long-Term Care and Senior Services, and Rep. Key will chair Insurance.
The next two months were occupied by the process of drafting and introducing legislation. On January 10th, we were joined by the new statewide officials, all Republicans and led by Governor Mary Fallin. Our former Tribune legislators Glenn Coffee and Mike Thompson did not go far, as both accepted positions in the offices of new statewide officials.
As you read this, we have just begun the state’s 53rd Legislature in earnest, kicked off with Governor Fallin’s State of the State address this past Monday. As the Governor related, an unavoidable task faces us. There is a fiscal year 2012 budget shortfall of more than $500 million. To address this, the Governor proposes to cut the budgets of most agencies three to five percent, along with the consolidation of others.
Beyond that challenge, the Legislature, with its new faces and new perspectives, has an opportunity to set a different course for our state. This is the first year of a new era, and if I can generalize, I would say that the Republican leaders have chosen to focus on two proactive priorities first – improving the business climate and reforming the education system.
Improving the business climate likely means serious attempts at tort and workers comp reform. Reforming the education system likely means a reconsideration of the bureaucratic and labor structure that underpins our system. I expect that education reform will be a multi-year focus of the Republican leadership.
Of course, the legislative process is organic and there will be many other important policy discussions, including pension reform, improving the health of Oklahomans, government modernization, corrections reform, tax relief, and sustainment of Oklahoma values. I expect to see new thinking in areas that have not witnessed reform in decades.
Another major task will be redistricting, which occurs every decade. By the end of this session, the Legislature will have redrawn the House, Senate, Congressional, and judicial districts. I will be serving as the Vice-Chair of Redistricting in the Senate, responsible for Central Oklahoma.
Some of my other legislative focus will be on two bills I have authored to return the power of the purse to you, the taxpayer. The first is Senate Bill 70, which will lower the Oklahoma income tax rate to 4.25 percent. The second is Senate Bill 826, which will end the process of “binding arbitration,” put into place by union lobbyists in 1994. “Binding arbitration” takes the power to spend local tax dollars away from the taxpayers and their elected representatives and places it in the hands of arbitrators, usually out-of-state attorneys. My bill puts the taxpayers back in charge, and is strongly supported by the local stewards of our tax dollars in Bethany and Warr Acres.
As the session sprints towards sine die on Memorial Day weekend, I encourage you to express your thoughts to myself and the rest of your Tribune delegation. You can find our contact information at www.oksenate.gov or www.okhouse.gov. And of course the doors of your offices at the Capitol are always open to you. I know each of us takes our duty to you very seriously. We are grateful for the opportunity you have given us to make our community a better place.
Today, SoonerPoll and the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs released a new, statewide poll showing strong support amongst Oklahomans for Senator Holt’s proposal to lower the state income tax. The poll results can be found here.