Posts tagged: David Holt

Senator Holt named to GOPAC board

Today, Senator David Holt was named to the 2015 GOPAC advisory board.   Here is the coverage from Roll Call.

A brief explanation of your property tax bill

An Oklahoma County property tax statement.

An Oklahoma County property tax statement.

It’s that time of year when homeowners receive their ad valorem (AKA property tax) bill. Or, if they pay through their mortgage company, they receive a statement. Unfortunately, I suspect the vast majority of us just shrug and move on. But for the amount of money we’re paying (usually thousands of dollars), we really should take five minutes and consider where our hard-earned dollars are going. As part of my continuing pursuit of civic literacy, here’s a breakdown of a typical property tax statement in Oklahoma County.

First of all, as background, property taxes are collected by your county treasurer. No higher level of government collects property tax. You don’t get a property tax bill from the federal government or the state government. But your one property tax bill from your county includes line items for several other local levels of government, in addition to the county, all of which have their own governing bodies.

Depending on where you live in the county, you will have different line items, because different homes within the county are in different school districts, cities, etc. And of course, your bill will fluctuate based on the assessed value of your home, a process far too complicated to get into here.

With that, and referencing the picture, here are a few comments on each line item found on a typical Oklahoma County property tax bill.

Oklahoma Countywide Schools: This money is small in comparison to the other line items. It goes into a pool for all school districts in Oklahoma County (of which there are two dozen, by the way). More to come on education at the end…

City-County Health: This line item is particularly interesting if you live in Oklahoma or Tulsa counties. Those two counties must fund their own city-county health departments, and they are funded through this line item on your property tax bill. The other 75 counties of Oklahoma are funded by the state. I have found that it is not uncommon to find Oklahoma City and Tulsa taxpayers funding programs that are implemented exclusively outside of Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The health department is governed by a board appointed by the Mayor of Oklahoma City and the county commissioners.

Metro Library: Cities build the library buildings within their city limits with their own tax dollars, but the operations for those libraries are funded through this line item on your property tax bill. The library system is governed by a board appointed by mayors and county commissioners.

Oklahoma County: Most of the county’s budget comes from this line item, which is actually a relatively small percentage of your property tax bill.  However, in some ways that makes sense in a place like Oklahoma County, where most infrastructure is taken care of by cities. But, this line item does include the costs of the sheriff’s department. Ultimately, the elected county commissioners are responsible for these funds.

Metro Tech Career Tech: This item will vary depending on what career tech district you live in. Career tech is the modern phrase for what some people still call vo-tech. There are actually several districts in Oklahoma County, and (hardly anyone knows this) they actually each have an elected board that determines their budget, and therefore the size of this line item on your property tax bill.

City of Oklahoma City: This item will vary depending on what city you live in. Unlike all the other line items on your bill, this one is limited by law to strictly capital costs, not operations. In other words, this line item largely goes to roads and bridges maintained by the city. If you live in Oklahoma County, chances are you spend 90 percent of your automobile time driving on streets maintained by a city (as opposed to the state or county), and those streets are funded by this line item. The size of this line item is determined by the voters when they vote on multi-year bond issues. The last one approved by the voters of Oklahoma City was in 2007. When people say that the city should spend more money fixing up roads, they are ultimately saying that this line item on their property tax bill should grow larger (even if they don’t realize that’s what they’re saying).

Oklahoma City Schools: This item will vary depending on what school district you live in. As you see from the picture, it’s by far the largest item on your tax bill. It is not, however, the only source of funding for your local school district. School districts generally also receive funding from the state, and (in recent decades) the federal government. Your school district has an elected school board who helps determine the size of this item, limited by some legal constraints, and limited by the voters, who must approve bond issues for capital projects (just like at the city level).

I hope you found this informative, and I hope you made it this far. You write a big check every year for property taxes, and you ought to know where the money goes.

Senator Holt talks about cities on OETA

Senator David Holt appears in a recent piece from “Oklahoma News Report” on OETA talking about the growing influence and effectiveness of city governments.   Senator Holt was a firsthand observer of the Oklahoma City renaissance during five years as chief of staff to the mayor.  The OETA piece can be watched here.

Our Crisis of Voter Apathy

I’ve been growing increasingly concerned as I watch falling voter turnout around the country.
Turnout for the all-important GOP runoff for Oklahoma City’s next U.S. House member dropped 30 percent from the same situation four years ago.  This is happening all over.  We need to start talking about falling voter turnout like the crisis that it is.  If we continue to check out, this experiment will fail.
Policymakers, media and voters all have a role to play in addressing our crisis of civic participation. Elections need to be streamlined and more accessible, media needs to cover civic life again, and citizens have to step up.

Here’s a report this week from KOCO-TV where I talk about these issues.

Senator Holt Receives “Child Abuse Prevention Leadership Award”

Senator Holt addressing the Parent Promise audience, and holding his award with wife Rachel

Senator Holt addressing the Parent Promise audience, and holding his award with wife Rachel

Senator David Holt has received the “Child Abuse Prevention Leadership Award” from Parent Promise in recognition of his efforts to protect children during the 2014 legislative session.   Parent Promise is a joint effort of the Exchange Club and Prevent Child Abuse Oklahoma.

This marks the fourth major award that Senator Holt has received this calendar year.   Senator Holt’s other recent awards include:

Oklahoma Sunshine Award – Presented by Freedom of Information Oklahoma for Senator Holt’s commitment to transparency in government.

Guardian Award – Presented by the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women in recognition of Senator Holt’s work on behalf of women and children.

Legislative Champion Award – Presented by the National MS Society for Senator Holt’s work on behalf of the multiple sclerosis community.



“Rising Star”

From "The Daily Rundown" on July 25, 2014

From “The Daily Rundown” on July 25, 2014

I was honored to be named one of two Republican “Rising Stars” in the state of Oklahoma by Chuck Todd of NBC News.   You can watch the clip here.

Here is more coverage of the announcement:


The Okie

McCarville Report



“Work of the heavy lifters often unsung”

Scott Carter of The Journal Record has a recent editorial praising Senator David Holt’s work this session in the Oklahoma Legislature.   It can be read here.


“Domestic violence law could save lives”

The Oklahoman recently editorialized in favor of Senator David Holt’s legislation with Rep. Kay Floyd to address Oklahoma’s domestic violence crisis.   The editorial about HB 2526 can be read here.

Op-ed by Senator Holt in The Oklahoman

Senator David Holt recently had an op-ed in The Oklahoman discussing the progress of government transparency at the Capitol this year.   It can be read here.    Senator Holt was awarded the “Sunshine Award” earlier this year for his work promoting government transparency.


Senator Holt on “The People’s Business”

UntitledSenator David Holt recently appeared on OETA’s “The People’s Business.”

You can watch the episode here.

Guardian Award

With my family and Commission Chair Lou Kohlman.

With my family and Commission Chair Lou Kohlman.

I was deeply honored today to have received the 2014 “Guardian Award” from the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women.

They specifically cited our bills this session protecting victims of domestic violence and strengthening the Sex Offender Registry.
I said earlier this year that a recognition I was given for government transparency was the most meaningful I could receive.   I may have to consider that a close second now.   This award today is deeply humbling.   There is nothing we could do that is more important than serving the women and children of Oklahoma.
Thank you to the Commission and especially Chair Lou Kohlman.

“Applaud State Sen. David Holt”

The Journal Record today has an editorial praising Senator David Holt for his transparency legislation this session.  It can be read here.

Governor signs major transparency bill

The Open Meetings Act requires public bodies to post notice of meetings and hold votes in public.    It is critically important to maintaining a transparent and accountable government, but the number one complaint about it has been the inability to enforce it.   Today, Governor Mary Fallin signed SB 1497, my bill with Rep. Elise Hall that puts into statute the ability of citizens to enforce the Open Meetings Act in the courts and recover attorney fees.    This is a major victory for government transparency and I especially want to commend Governor Fallin for her leadership today.   This session, she has established a solid record of support for government transparency through her approval of several major transparency bills, and I do not think that should go unnoticed.

Here is coverage from The Tulsa World.

Senator Holt on OETA’s Stateline

Senator David Holt recently talked about the effects of legalized gambling in Oklahoma on OETA’s Stateline.    You can watch the episode here.

Governor Fallin Signs Dash Cam Bill

Our legislation to open up all law enforcement dash cam videos is now law.    Effective November 1st, all law enforcement dash cam videos, including those of OHP, will be subject to the Open Records Act.   Thank you to Governor Mary Fallin, who signed HB 2676 today.   This is an important victory for transparency and the taxpayers.