Updates from Oklahoma House of Representatives

Story by Bixby Bulletin www.bixbybulletin.com

Newell Calls for Phasing Out of Income Tax

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Tom Newell today called for action after last week’s hearing on a bill to lower and phase out the state income tax.

House Bill 1543, by state Rep. Josh Cockroft would reduce the income tax by 1 percent each year, down to 0 percent in 2016. Newell spoke at the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Revenue and Taxation hearing of the legislation.

“I filed a similar bill to eliminate the state income tax over the next 10 years,” Newell, R-Seminole, said. “As a college instructor of both macro and microeconomics and a firm believer in economic freedom, I believe it is immoral to punish someone for being productive and that it is detrimental to sound economic policy.”

Newell said that with both political parties calling for economic growth policies, the course is clear.

“An overwhelming amount of objective data clearly shows that those states with low or no income tax are growing by almost every positive indicator at the expense of those states with high tax burdens,” Newell said.

Newell said there is no truth to the argument that the income tax must be replaced with a new tax on consumption.

“If government stayed within the bounds of its God-ordained role, even in these down economic times, we would not be scrambling for money,” Newell said. “A reduction and elimination of the income tax will result in economic growth that will more than offset the loss of revenue from the income tax. When people are allowed to keep more of the fruits of their labor, they tend to produce more. They will do one of two things with this money—spend it, which will grow the revenue from consumption taxes without raising the rates, or save it. Saving money is absolutely critical to long-term capital investment.”

Read full article here.

New Shops Open in Bixby

Story by Sara Goldenberg of KJRH www.kjrh.com

Bixby is now Oklahoma’s 20th largest city, and it’s still growing which means more business and opportunity for the city.

Southern Nazarene University opened its doors at its new location this Saturday, the regal plaza in Bixby. SNU is Bixby’s first university. And another sign Bixby is growing.

“I think it’s going to continue to grow. Bixby’s got a lot of growth from the south side of Bixby. And I think a university like this brings a lot of draw and jobs into the area. It’s really going to help us in the future,” said Mayor Ray Bowen.

Bowen says Bixby’s population has grown 61 percent in the last 10 years. New shopping centers like Regal Plaza popped up. But attracting businesses to fill the store fronts hasn’t been easy.

“The only way that we actually fund our city government is through sales tax,” Bowen said. “So the more commercial growth we can have in Bixby, and the more goods and services we can give to our citizens.”

Read full article here.

Fast Forward in Bixby – Chance to Win iPad

Story by Bixby Bulletin www.bixbybulletin.com

The “Transit Lab” will be traveling throughout Bixby the week of March 7 to gather input from the public on the first-ever transit system plan for the Tulsa region. Participants 18 and older have a chance to win an iPad.

“We have received some extremely valuable input from people so far in this public participation process,” said Kasey Frost, INCOG’s Transportation Public Outreach Planner. “This information will be merged with the technical process as the transit system plan is developed.”

The Transit Lab has so far engaged hundreds of residents in west, midtown, north and east Tulsa, Jenks and Sand Springs. Bixby, Broken Arrow and Owasso are next on its list of stops.

INCOG Senior Transportation Planner, James Wagner said they have received over 300 comments and had over 600 surveys filled out so far. With gasoline prices around $3.20 per gallon, the highest price since October 2010, the discussion on mass transit options for the Tulsa region is particularly timely.

Visitors talk with transportation experts, play a game, take a survey, watch an informational video and offer input, all while on the Transit Lab. Those who choose to participate in the survey will be entered to win a free iPad. There are also refreshments for visitors to enjoy.

Read full article here.

Street Bond Projects in Bixby

Story by City Manager Doug Enevoldson, found in the Bixby Bulletin www.bixbybulletin.com

Voters in Bixby went to the polls in 2006 and by overwhelming margins approved a $20 million municipal General Obligation (G.O.) Bond issue which provided funding for a variety projects aimed at improving the community and posturing it for future growth.

    With 95% of those projects now completed or underway, and interest rates and construction market prices being at historically low levels, City leaders have scheduled an election for April 5, 2011, to seek voter approval for a new $10 million G.O. Bond issue. Passage would enable the City to continue the progress begun in 2006 to improve traffic safety, quality of life, and public safety in our community. Approval of the four propositions will not raise taxes because of growth in the City’s bond capacity and the retirement of older bond issues.

Because Bixby is one of Oklahoma’s fastest growing cities, both the City’s 2006 and proposed 2011 G.O. bond issues have featured a strong emphasis on improving the local transportation infrastructure to accommodate that growth.

Street Improvement Projects Require Significant Effort, But Well Worth It

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Oklahoma’s Governor’s Conference on Small Business – October 13 and 14, 2011

The Governor’s Conference on Small Business is Oklahoma’s premier small business event. To be held October 13-14 at the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Tulsa, this first-class conference experience is packed with educational workshops, a national keynote speaker and effective networking opportunities.

As a small business owner, your time is incredibly valuable. That’s why we designed the conference to fit your busy schedule. The conference programs were established by hundreds of small business owners from across Oklahoma. Each workshop is carefully selected to deliver immediate, practical tools and information that can be applied to your business right away. So whether you attend for an hour, a day or both days, you’re sure to leave with valuable new strategies to enhance your business’s success. This is a must attend event!

October 13-14, 2011
Hard Rock Hotel & Casno

www.okgovcon.com

Bixby Schedules G.O. Bond Issue Election

Story by GTR Newspapers: www.gtrnews.com

Bixby City Council voted to hold an April 5, 2011 election to seek voter approval of a proposed $10 million General Obligation (G.O.) bond issue. The bond issue is designed to improve streets, parks and public safety in Bixby, without raising taxes. Passage would allow the City to continue progress on several fronts to provide for the growth of our community and positively impact local quality of life, officials say.

“Bixby voters, by an overwhelming margin, approved a $20 million G.O. bond in 2006, and have seen the positive impact local infrastructure investments make”, Mayor Ray Bowen says. “Council members have since received many requests from citizens to continue the progress, and this April 5th election will provide us the means to do so. I urge people to mark their calendars now to remind themselves to go to the polls in April and do their part to help make it possible.”

Voter approval would result in $4 million in new funds being allocated for critical transportation projects, $4.9 million for park improvements and $1.1 million for public safety projects. Voters will also be asked to reauthorize use of nearly $1 million in previously approved funds, to help complete a road improvement project on Riverview Drive, a key Bixby school corridor.

The Council action comes on the heels of a City-led public outreach effort and well-attended town hall meeting held Jan. 18 during which City officials presented the status of the various 2006 bond issue projects, demonstrating 95 percent as being either completed or now underway. Officials also explained the additional improvements to be funded by the proposed 2011 bond and listened to comments and answered questions from various citizens and representatives of local user groups. Comments received were overwhelmingly favorable towards the new bond issue.

Read full story here.

Legislative Update by Senator Dan Newberry

By Sen. Dan Newberry  / Posted on the Bixby Bulletin: www.bixbybulletin.com

As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce, I was pleased we were able to approve legislation this week that would restrict the practice of binding arbitration.  Senate Bill 826 will help restore taxpayer control over municipal budgets.  Cities and states across the country are battling budget problems.  Their struggles provide us with a crystal clear example of what happens when you remove taxpayers from the budgeting process.  The end result has been runaway spending, tax increases and reductions in core services.  Our proposal keeps out-of-state attorneys away from municipal coffers, protecting Oklahomans and restoring accountability to the system.

 

The Senate Education Committee this week approved the Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship Act.  Senate Bill 969 is my proposal to create a tax credit scholarship program.  If enacted, the would allow tax credits of up to $1,000 a year for individuals and $2,000 a year for couples for contributions to eligible scholarship-granting organizations. Credits would also be available to businesses, with total value of the program limited to $10 million.  Families making up to 300 percent of the “free and reduced lunch” income standard would be eligible for tax credits scholarships. Special-needs children could access higher levels of funding. Only accredited schools and those conducting criminal background checks.  Scholarships could go to families making up to 300 percent of the income standard used for the free or reduced school lunch program. Higher grants for special-needs children would be allowed. Scholarships could only be used at accredited schools with accountability, and criminal background checks of teachers and staff.

 

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Bixby gets the Legislative Scoop

Story by Jo-Ann Jennings of the Bixby Bulletin: www.bixbybulletin.com

Sen. Dan Newberry launched a Metro Bixby Chamber of Commerce legislative luncheon Friday, Feb. 25, 2011, by telling an audience of Bixby/South Tulsa constituents that progress continues in getting a second bridge across the Arkansas River.

Bixby City Manager, Douglas J. Enevoldsen, explained that Newberry had filed legislation this session at the request of Bixby city officials to help break a stalemate in efforts to secure a new river bridge crossing in the area.    “State law has for some time authorized Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) to study feasibility of a bridge at Yale,” he said, adding that Newberry’s bill  would  expand eastward the vicinity where OTA is authorized to study feasibility of constructing and operating a bridge. “The measure passed  the Senate Transportation Committee,” said Enevoldsen.  “The next stop is the Senate floor; then the House; and eventually the governor. It would then require an affirmative vote of OTA to utilize this authorization.”

 

Several Bixby Police Officers Receive Buckle Down Awards

Story by Jo-Ann Jennings of the Bixby Bulletin: www.bixbybulletin.com

At the 18th Annual Oklahoma Buckle Down Awards, several of Bixby’s officers were honored says Sgt. Blake Annis of the Bixby Police Department.

On February 17 at the Tulsa Technology Center, Lemley Campus, Tulsa County district attorney, Tim Harris, recognized the officers for outstanding performance in areas of traffic safety.

Officers Patrick Cherninsky and Aaron Daniels, child passenger safety technicians, were recognized for their work in occupant protection.

Recognized for traffic safety were Cpl. Jim White, Officers Paul Lloyd and Mike Konshak; and Cpl. Scott Henderson.

Read full story here.

Grand Opening ceremony for SNU planned for March 5, Bixby campus

Story by Bixby Bulletin www.bixbybulletin.com

Southern Nazarene University hosts grand opening celebration for the new SNU-Bixby/South Tulsa campus.
Please join SNU faculty, staff, and friends on Saturday, March 5 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for food, music, and tours celebrating the opening of the campus. Ribbon cutting and dedication will take place at noon.
The SNU-Tulsa campus is located at Regal Plaza, 8210 S. Regal Court (105th and S. Memorial). The 17,000 square foot building contains nine classrooms along with administrative offices, a computer workroom, bookstore and student lounge. The SNU-Tulsa campus offers evening and weekend courses for adult learners in both graduate and undergraduate degrees.