Oklahomans can pass on turnpike PikePass

June 3rd, 2009

Uh

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority will stop issuing automatic violations for failure to pay tolls until the agency can match its records with Tax Commission records new license plate numbers.

Wouldn’t it make sense to just suspend automatic violations without announcing it? It’s kind of like Wal-Mart publicizing that they have turned off their security systems.

And don’t blame the “Oklahoma License Plate Design Task Force”.

The members of the task force are:

Senator Clark Jolley, Co-Chair
Representative Ken Miller, Co-Chair
Senator Charles Wyrick
Representative Randy Terrill
Ms. Andrea Collum
Ms. Staci Foresee

The task force was supported administratively by the staff of the State Senate with assistance from the Tax Commission, the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Tourism and Recreation.

After all, they only had since Nov. 6, 2007 to think about this.

Rep. Mike Reynolds makes good point

June 28th, 2008

State Representative Mike Reynolds is alarmed about the appointment of former state Sen. Ted Fisher to the Council of Bond Oversight.

“To put it mildly, Senator Fisher has an extremely weak record when it comes to ensuring tax dollars are not wasted or funneled to questionable business transactions,” said Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City. “Thanks to former Senator Fisher’s actions, Oklahoma taxpayers were fleeced out of millions of dollars through a tax credit scheme.”

During his time in the state Senate, Fisher (D-Sapulpa) authored the Small Business Capital Formation Incentive Act and the Rural Venture Capital Formation Incentive Act. Supporters claimed the two programs, which provided tax credits on money invested in certain projects, would spur economic development.

In reality, the two programs were massive tax loopholes that drained state coffers without generating new jobs, Reynolds noted.

That does indeed sound like some pretty piss-poor legislation! Who in the world would support that kind of crap? Let’s see…

Under the Small Business Capital Formation Incentive Act, SB1324 provided a tax credit for capital invested in qualified small business capital companies in which the institution is a shareholder or partner. It passed the House 99-0, the Senate 43-0, and was approved by Gov. Keating on May 24, 2000.

HB 2010 created the Rural Venture Capital Formation Incentive Act. It passed the House 97-1 and the Senate 44-1. Approved by Gov. Frank Keating on May 26, 2000.

Which goes to show that, when it comes to corporate welfare, we probably can’t trust any elected official to make good decisions in the public’s best interest.

Tulsa going down

February 8th, 2008

Tulsa’s NewsChannel 8 provides some interesting statistics in comparing T-Town and OKC:

Tulsa generally has a shorter commute, 17 minutes, compared to OKC’s 20 minute average.

… 90% of Tulsa ‘s teachers are considered “highly qualified,” compared to just 85% in OKC.

But that’s about the best of it for Tulsa.

… OKC’s population has increased by nearly 37-thousand since 2000. Tulsa lost about 11-thousand during that same time period.

It seems young people were leaving Tulsa, with the city’s median age rising to 36.1 in 2006 from 34.5 in 2000. But those youngsters didn’t go to Oklahoma City; OKC’s median age also rose during that time, albeit less so.

Not surprisingly, home values in both cities rose between 2000 and 2006. But as Tulsa led OKC in 2000 with median values more than $3,000 higher, that figure had reversed in 2006, with Tulsa home values lagging OKC by more than $2,000.

And the same for median incomes:

Median Household Income 2006
Tulsa $36,137 ($35,316 in 2000)
OKC $39,024 ($34,947 in 2000)
OK $ 38,770

Median Family Income 2006
Tulsa $47,124 ($44,518 in 2000)
OKC $50,218 ($42,689 in 2000)
OK $ 47,955

Not only did Tulsa fall behind OKC in income, Tulsans also now earn less than fellow Okies throughout the state.
(The difference between Household Income and Family Income? Evidently a single family can span multiple households.)

Of course, both cities fall behind the United States in all the categories except in sales tax rates: Tulsa comes in at 8.517%, OKC is 8.375%. The U.S. average is reported at 6.55%.

Getting rich the easy way

February 8th, 2008

I’d reveal my own secrets to becoming wealthy, but you’d probably rather hear it from a respected source.

The February issue of Kiplinger’s has advice for how to save a million dollars at any age from 25-55.

How To Save A Million at 25:
To reach one million by age 65 you need to save $286 per month.

How To Save A Million at 35:
To reach one million by age 65 you need to save $671 per month.

How To Save A Million at 45:
To reach one million by age 65 you need to save $1,698 per month.

How To Save A Million at 55:
To reach one million by age 65 you need to save $5,466 per month.

And if you’re really in a hurry, you can be a millionaire in a week by saving $142,857 per day. It’s as easy as that. Although you may have to give up a few frills.

My one cent worth

February 1st, 2008

Since proponents of Oklahoma City’s MAPS 3 label the tax as being “a penny”, wouldn’t opponents be just as truthful calling it a 35% sales tax increase?

When the current MAPS 2 tax expires, the city sales tax rate will be 2.875%. MAPS 3 will put it back up to 3.875%, an increase of just under 34.8%.

And, if it’s only a penny, why not ask the wealthy Sonics team owners to chip in half a cent?

Mayor Mick’s MAPS 3

January 15th, 2008

Don’t you love it when politicians make you feel like they really want your input and take it to heart? Remember this from May, 2007?

Now, it is time to consider taking Oklahoma City to a new level. MAPS 3 is an unwritten book, a blank canvas. We will decide together if we should push forward with another MAPS initiative.

Rather than presenting to you a finished plan, I have asked you to help me create one. If we go forward, we will go forward together. Through May 15, 2007, this interactive web site accepted your thoughts and ideas.

Sincerely,
Mick Cornett
Mayor

And the results by number of submissions?

668 – Transit (light rail, streetcars, etc.)
188 – Infrastructure, Including Streets
140 – Trials
123 – General Parks Improvement/Expansion
117 – Beautification (includes trees, streetscapes)
100 – Sidewalks
77 – Education
69 – Downtown Retail
65 – Football or Soccer Stadium
41 – Ford Center Improvements

And remember Mayor Cornett’s response?

“The overwhelming support for transit surprises me in many ways, and delights me in others. I agree that it’s a shortcoming in the community,” he said.

“But I think that if we have a MAPS3, it will probably fall more in line with (the first) MAPS. It’ll be about civic projects in nature; it’ll be people thinking big on a grand scale.”

And Mick was right; grand scale indeed. Which may be why some people are calling it MAPS for Millionaires.

Investment Oklahoma

January 11th, 2008

I made some mistakes in 2007, and probably the biggest was coming up with the Okiedoke Stock Market Game last January.

And who do I trust most to make me rich? I trust folks who read this blog. It’s obvious you all have good sense, good taste, and good looks. Therefore, I ask you for your best Okie stock tip for 2007. I may even buy one of them.

The rules:
Oklahoma based companies only.
One stock pick per person please. (I want your best.)
I will invest $1,000.

First, let me first say this: Most readers of this blog, at that time, may have been the ugliest, grossest, knuckleheads in Oklahoma blogdom. This is what I got:

tammy recommended Sonic @ $22.50 per share. SONC closed yesterday @ $22.24 for a loss of about 1%.

Cary suggested Big Daddy’s BBQ Sauce & Spices. BIGD was unavailable.

Tim C. brought up Syntroleum at $3.54. SYNM now sits at $ 0.69 which equals an 81% loss.

T.J. said I should buy mutual funds instead. The S&P 500 Index was up about 5% for the year.

J.M Branum liked Dobson Comm @ $8.80 a share. AT&T purchased them all mid-year @ $13.00 per share for a gain of 48% over six months!

So what did I do? You guessed it, on Jan. 18, 2007

… per advice from Tim C., I purchased 250 shares of Syntroleum (SYNM) at $3.6299 per share.

And as a guy who likes to learn from his mistakes, what did I learn? The odds of the lottery aren’t so bad after all.

Bank of Oklahoma poses threat

September 23rd, 2007

Some folks may be suspicious of a Tulsan who likes to spend time in San Francisco. Others may simply be wary of any oil and financial industry baron that increases his wealth by billions of dollars per year.

2005 = $4.4 billion
2006 = $8.5 billion
2007 = $11 billion – 26th richest in U.S.
– Forbes

Of course I’m referring to George Kaiser, the state’s richest man and one influential Okie! His grip on the natural gas industry is becoming so potent that it may not be long before Americans will have to pay him royalties just to fart.

But, me being a propane user, what concerns me most is one of Kaiser’s controlling interests; that of BOK Financial.

… parent to Bank of Oklahoma, Bank of Texas, Bank of Albuquerque, Bank of Arkansas, Colorado State Bank, Bank of Kansas City, and Bank of Arizona …

Specifically, it’s a threat of powerhouse Bank of Oklahoma that I want to alert you to.

Bank of Oklahoma is the largest full-service bank in our original market and is the leader in consumer and commercial banking, including small and middle market business lending.

Folks trust Bank of Oklahoma. And that is the problem.

image

Don’t trust the above email. And don’t trust the web page shown below: (http://oklahomas.110mb.com/connect/BOO.htm)

image

Since I had to find out about this scam from a European company, I trust BOK will soon inform their customers via email, or at least with an insert in their gas bill.

And if you think George Kaiser owes me something for protecting his customers, please tell him so.

Okies catch up to Kentuckians

August 29th, 2007

Tax cuts, corporate subsidies, right-to-work, and other economic incentives passed by Oklahoma legislators over the years have contributed to the state’s poverty rate equaling that of Kentucky.

Newly released statistics show that while the nation’s poverty rate dropped, the number of Oklahomans living below the poverty line continued to climb.

To think that state leaders can accomplish such a feat, in spite of a booming oil industry, is a tribute to the political finesse of Oklahoma power brokers.

Then again, if someone’s losing, it usually means someone else is winning.

Officials, including Gov. Brad Henry, have said some investors have found a way to manipulate the tax credit programs in “a shell game” that nets profits of 100 to 500 percent over a period of time.

Tony Mastin, director of policy at the Oklahoma Tax Commission, said a corporation or individual could make enough money in tax credits to completely offset their tax liability and continue that practice for up to 10 years.

Then again, maybe we just need to wait longer for Right-to-Work to kick in.

Right to Work Law is Helping Oklahoma Turn Into an Economic Leader

Yeah, us and Kentucky.

If I get a million, or 33

June 30th, 2007

My little old pickup truck is bumping 111,000 miles on the odometer. So far, so good. If I get a million miles out of it I’ll be happy.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Don Harvey’s long-haul truck had almost 2 million miles on it when its engine died this week.

Luckily, Mr. Harvey can afford to replace it.

Now, he’s planning to ride the road in style, after winning a $105.8 million Powerball ticket with his wife.

The Harveys, from eastern Oklahoma, took the lump sum of $33 million. But that won’t change the couple much. Don plans to continue to do what he likes. The 64 year old has been driving trucks all his life. He sure as heck ain’t gonna stop now.

He said he would buy a fancier truck than the one that finally quit running after he rolled into Muldrow from a trip delivering air conditioners to Madison, Wis. But it won’t be a new one, he said, saying there is no reason to waste money, even if you’ve got it to waste, on a vehicle that greatly depreciates in its first two years.

Here I thought I was a frugal guy… but I’d buy me a new truck AND quit working.