Opponents of the so-called “taxpayers’ bill of rights” (TABOR) petition in Oklahoma have characterized the drive as one fueled by out-of-state interests.
State Sen. Cal Hobson, of Norman, is a good bit more boldly emphatic. He said the fact that 99 percent of the funding for the so-called Tax Payer Bill of Rights (TABOR) has come from out-of- state megarich contributors shows that there is virtually no support for the initiative in the Sooner State, and that it’s high time for out-of-state millionaires to stop meddling in Oklahoma’s business.
“These carpetbaggers don’t give a damn about the fact that we have one of the highest rates of uninsured citizens, or that one in five Oklahoma children lives in poverty or that our elderly are dying because they can’t afford air conditioning,” said Hobson, D-Lexington. “If they had their way, they’d make sure not another cent ever went to help anyone but themselves.”
Some Oklahoma political candidates have waffled on where they stand on TABOR, but not Hobson. He says that had TABOR been in place this year in Oklahoma, several landmark, bipartisan initiatives aimed at moving the state forward and creating jobs would not have been possible.
“The $3,000 teacher pay raise, the record investment in roads and bridges, the start-up money for a world-class diabetes research and treatment center, the $150 million EDGE fund for research and development, the $45 million opportunity fund that’s already helped us land the MG car plant and fund the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation Tower—had TABOR been the law in Oklahoma, none of these things would have happened and we’d never be able to make investments like these again,” Hobson said.
While the report noted that 42.5 percent of an anti-TABOR organization’s funding came from out-of-state sources, Hobson noted those organizations at least had valid, long-standing ties to Oklahoma.
“For example, the AARP and the National Education Association have local members in Oklahoma who live and work here and are worried about how TABOR would negatively impact our state,” Hobson said. “However, there’s absolutely no valid reason for the out-of-state TABOR supporters to be pushing a bad policy program that could devastate the services our citizens depend on the state to deliver.”
An Oklahoma court referee has ruled the signatures on the TABOR petition are invalid. The issue now has been referred to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
“I’m hopeful that the State Supreme Court will rule that the TABOR initiative petition does not have enough valid voter signatures to go on the ballot,” Hobson said. “It was bad for Coloradans and it would be disastrous for Oklahomans.”