October 27, 2017
I’m not posting this to tell you how to vote in a couple of weeks, but I will share how I’ll be voting and some of the links are interesting ways to find out more about the issues and so forth.
Our country’s flawed electoral college system means my vote for President never counts, since I am a liberal stuck in a state overwhelmed with wildly conservative voters. That makes me incredibly weary of the “horse race” reporting on the Presidential race, and I don’t even watch television! But I was curious as to how well the candidates match my views on various issues.
VoteMatch is an online issues quiz which shows that I actually agree more with Joe Biden than Barack Obama on policy issues, but either of them is a far better choice for me than Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan:
As for state races, I’ll certainly go vote against Jim Bridenstine, the “Republican Patriot for Congress” (gag me with a flag), who is running against John Olson in Oklahoma’s 1st District for the U.S. House of Representatives. Bridenstine is another Republican neanderthal on social issues and has nutty Tea Party connections. I am willing to cross party lines, however, for the best candidate. So old Bob Anthony will get my vote for Corporation Commission; he’s been more of an independent voice than most of those elected to that body.
I always research the State Questions beforehand, so here’s how I’ll be voting on them:
- NO on 758: Property Tax Limits, since further reducing the cap on property tax increases is fundamentally unfair: doing so fails to properly tax those whose real estate is increasing in value, shifting tax burdens onto others whose net worth is not rising as quickly. Folks who proclaim how wonderful the free market is sure do like to rig it when it benefits them to do so. The hypocrisy is appalling, especially since our property taxes are already very low. [Details: This question reduces the cap on the maximum annual tax valuation increase for homestead properties and agricultural land from 5 percent to 3 percent. Lowering the allowable increase in property valuations helps only those whose property values are increasing quickly enough to exceed the cap. Oklahomans living in poor communities, rural areas, and small towns would get little to no benefit, since their homes values will not increase nearly as much as homes in wealthy, suburban communities. Meanwhile, everyone could end up paying higher rates to meet fixed expenses that are funded with property taxes, such as school bond payments.]
- NO on 759: Banning Affirmative Action, since racism is anything but dead in America. From what I can find, this state question will actually have little impact, which is only another reason to vote it down. We don’t need more unnecessary laws which are mostly symbolic – especially when the symbolism is muddle-headed and racist. [Details: This question bans affirmative action in state employment, education, and contracting. Supporters of SQ 759 oppose practices that are already illegal in Oklahoma or never existed in the first place. Public hiring quotas and contract preferences have been illegal in Oklahoma since the early 1980s. SQ 759 would make illegal in the public sector practices that are voluntarily and widely adopted by the private sector by companies that understand the value of inclusion and diversity for any successful organization.]
- YES on 762 on Removing Governor from Non-Violent Parole Process, since governors are political animals who will lock up just about anybody out of fear of being held responsible for recidivism, and Oklahoma already locks up far more of its non-violent population than it should. [Details: This questions removes the governor from the parole process for less serious, non-violent offenses. Oklahoma is the only state in the nation where the governor must personally approve every parole, and Oklahoma’s parole rates have tended to be far lower than most other states. Well-managed probation and parole systems have been shown to reduce crime and recidivism. Parole offers those released from prison an intermediate period to rebuild their lives, where they can be monitored and assisted to find a job, obtain a degree, and stay out of trouble, at a fraction of the cost of incarceration.]
- YES on 764 for Water Bonds, since many small Oklahoma towns will need help upgrading their water supplies to meet needed environmental standards. [Details: This questions creates a $300 million bonding authority for the Oklahoma Water Resource Board (OWRB) in the case of water and sewage treatment loan defaults. The OWRB is already constitutionally authorized to purchase and issue bonds, and SQ764 does not change this. The new fund would be drafted only if an Oklahoma municipality or city defaulted on a loan and only if all other OWRB reserve funds had been depleted (a scenario that has never occurred in the 27 years since the inception of OWRB’s financial assistance program). Reinforcing OWRB’s loan programs is important for small Oklahoma towns that do not have the capital to fund water infrastructure projects on their own.]
- YES on 765 to Restructure Dept. of Human Services, since our current system, run by an independent commission, has been plagued by scandals and needs reform. [Details: This question eliminate the commission overseeing the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) and transfers its powers to the Legislature and Governor. The question is not clear on the Department’s status, so some are nervous about that. But I don’t think the current system works well and letting the elected representatives try to fix it makes sense to me.]
- NO on 766 to Exempt Intangible Personal Property, since this will strip millions of dollars from public schools, which are already woefully underfunded. I love the campaign signs on this around town: they say vote YES and that’s it. Gotta love those corporations who are afraid to even mention what the question is about, lest they be asked to explain why they want to de-fund our public schools. [Details: This question exempts corporations’ intangible property from property taxes. SQ 766 would provide a large tax cut to centrally-assessed corporations, such as utilities, airlines, railroads, and telecommunications companies. It would cost local governments an estimated $50 million in property tax revenue, 60 percent of which goes to schools. For budget items that cannot be cut, such as bond issues and legal judgments, local assessors will have to increase property tax rates to offset lost revenue. As a result, most homeowners and small businesses could see their property taxes go up. The failure of SQ 766 would not mean a significant tax increase for business, because the Legislature has already created a $25 Business Activity Tax (BAT) as a “tax in lieu of” intangible personal property tax. This tax will continue if SQ 766 fails. Link to even more info.]
I’m supposed to urge everyone to go vote at this point. But if you’re an ignorant wacko, please stay home. 🙂