One Thing Thursday: Celebrate Our Successes So Far!

by | April 6th, 2017

“Redbud tree” by Selena N. B. H. is licensed under CC BY 2.0

You obviously care about our future.  If you didn’t, you would not be reading this weekly update from the Together Oklahoma Coalition.  I’m glad you are here and together let’s get grounded in reality.

I’m a gardener so I think a lot about getting grounded, or more specifically about the soil that my plants grow in.  Good soil, plus water, sunshine, and protection from pests, is all a plant needs.  I’ve come to think of our state budget as the soil that our society grows in.  Without adequate revenue our ability to provide schools with good teachers, well-maintained infrastructure, safe streets and neighborhoods, and public goods like state parks, libraries, and arts programs, will wither and die.  That ability is just like crops in the Dust Bowl. The public works we value are starting to blow away. But wait! There is a solution!  In fact, there are many revenue solutions that can anchor us back in solid ground. 

In the past couple One Thing Thursdays, I’ve asked you to call your legislators about these revenue solutions and then I asked that you connect with other people in your districts.  I hope you keep doing those things as we head into the last seven weeks of the legislative session.  

One Thing Thursday for April 6th:

Take a moment to celebrate that we are having some success!  Keep that fire in your belly that fuels your will to act, but also look around and see that we are on some higher ground.  Don’t believe me? Check out this list of things that are going better this session:

  • The Governor, her staff, some of the legislators, and the state Treasurer are all publicly stating that we have a revenue problem.  This is new!  The budget hole is NOT new but this is the first year I’ve seen elected leaders on both sides of the aisle realizing, and publicly proclaiming, that “we can’t cut our way to prosperity”.
  • There are more than 8,000 Together Oklahomans receiving this weekly email and many are following up with essential calls and visits to legislators.  Last year I asked people to join me at the Capitol and most days no one showed up. Now folks know that there are plenty of ways for each of us to be involved to the best of our abilities.
  • Senate Bill 170 to HALT AND REPEAL THE TAX CUT, has actually passed the Senate, and the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, and if we keep the pressure on, I believe it can make it all the way to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.  Those of you who have been with us for a while know that we have been fighting to get this done FOR YEARS and we aren’t about to quit now. Advocacy Alert HERE.
  • Fewer bad bills this year– I know there have been some scandals, drama, and unconstitutional or pointless bills up at 23rd and Lincoln this session, but there actually seems to be fewer shenanigans this year and more legislators pushing back when those do show up.  Sure, we aren’t getting the laser focus on the revenue crisis that we hoped for, but I’ve seen worse years at our Capitol. Remember that the legislation that makes it on the 9 o’clock news usually tells us when things go wrong and not when they go right.
  • House Bill 2209: Tax Incidence Reports would give legislators more tools to make better decisions. It may not be all we want, but it gets the ball rolling, and with the help we’ve had from you it may just pass into law.
  • We have this snazzy new membership form and a growing Together Oklahoma leadership team.  We sometimes try to bite off more than we can chew, but if we all take a seat at the table, we’ll make it through this meal without a big belly ache.
  • Best of all, WE HAVE REVENUE OPTIONS, and we have seven more weeks to clearly communicate to our legislators and our fellow constituents why we MUST come to our senses, as a state, and pass a state budget with NO MORE CUTS.  Get good soil!

We can do this!  I believe in us, not because I’m excessively optimistic, but because I am paying attention to the big picture and seeing the ground we have gained.  In my mind’s eye, I can see our garden growing. See it with me.  What role do you plan in this care and cultivation team? A better future for our loved ones is within our reach.  Let’s celebrate our success, support each other, and keep working so that together we can make Oklahoma bloom and thrive!