Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: September 28, 2011
Sen. David Holt
Senator Holt calls Oklahoma's anti-taxpayer ranking a "wake-up
State Sen. David
Holt responded Wednesday to a recent study ranking all 50 states
based on government union power versus taxpayer rights. The nonpartisan,
data-based ranking, called the “Big Labor vs. Taxpayer Index,”
ranked Oklahoma dead last in the entire Southern United States for
taxpayer rights. Oklahoma was ranked 24th overall, meaning that
23 other states are more favorable to taxpayers.
"These rankings don't bode well for Oklahoma's reputation
as a conservative state, and unless you're a union member, they
certainly don't help us recruit people to live and work in our state,”
said Holt, R–Oklahoma City. “These rankings should serve
as a wake-up call to Oklahoma’s policymakers. We can no longer
pretend that we're a pro-taxpayer state. The rankings don't lie.
Our laws are anti-taxpayer, and we have work to do. The voters of
2010 made it clear they want to see taxpayers back in charge of
our government. It’s time they got what they asked for.”
The Competitive Enterprise Institute that created the ranking is
a nonpartisan, Washington-based, non-profit think tank. The rankings
were based purely on the statutory power held by government unions
in each state, such as binding arbitration and paycheck protection.
Holt pointed out that government union power became the hottest
issue in legislatures around the country in 2011, as newly-elected
conservative state governments attempted to re-establish the taxpayers'
right to spend their own tax dollars.
“The power of the purse is finite, and in many states unions
have claimed more and more power that once belonged to the taxpayers,”
said Holt. “These new rankings demonstrate that Oklahoma's
statutes are the most anti-taxpayer, pro-union in the entire Southern
United States, a region that includes thirteen states.”
Among bordering states, Oklahoma trailed Texas (4th), Missouri,
Arkansas, Louisiana (all tied for 6th), and Kansas (tied for 11th).
Oklahoma received some of its worst scores when it came to “binding
arbitration.” Binding arbitration has existed in Oklahoma
since 1994, when Governor Walters and the Democratic Legislature
took the power to spend local tax dollars away from taxpayers and
their elected representatives and gave it to an arbitrator. That
arbitrator, who has the power to bind Oklahoma taxpayers to paying
higher salaries to government union employees, is usually an attorney
from Texas. Ironically, Texas does not have binding arbitration
and ranks among the top five most pro-taxpayers states in the union.
“Oklahoma competes against other states in the South and
in our region, particularly Texas, for jobs and opportunities,”
said Holt. “We often talk about beating Texas. Why would we
continue to let Texas treat its taxpayers far better than we treat
ours, while at the same time allowing Texas attorneys to come here
and spend our tax dollars?”
According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, only eleven
states have stronger binding arbitration than Oklahoma, and there
are 27 states that have no binding arbitration at all. Among the
states that border Oklahoma (Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri,
New Mexico and Colorado), only New Mexico has binding arbitration.
This session, Sen. Holt and Rep. Scott Martin (R– Norman)
authored SB 826, which would have repealed binding arbitration,
but was amended to reform the process in a way favorable to taxpayers.
The bill passed the Senate in the 2011 legislative session, and
is available for hearing in the full House in the 2012 legislative
The full “Big Labor vs. Taxpayer Index” can be viewed
For more information, contact:
Sen. Holt: (405) 521-5636