Saturday, May 24, 2008

Joseph Fairbanks Letter To Editor

Wallace Collins Has Problem With Truth, Again!

Editor, The Transcript:

Eliminating the grocery sales tax is perhaps one of the most effective ways we could provide economic relief to poor and working families in Oklahoma. As a resident of Norman, I was pleasantly surprised in the 2006 campaign when then-candidate Wallace Collins announced he would support eliminating the tax. During his previous tenure in the State House, Representative Collins repeatedly opposed such a policy. Unfortunately, his change of heart and eagerness to support the policy was short-lived. In defending his recent failure to support an amendment to eliminate the tax on essential groceries, Collins has been astoundingly dishonest.

He claimed in his response to Bobby Cleveland’s March 30 letter that he did not skip the vote to allow a grocery sales tax exemption amendment to House Bill 3358. A simple search of the Oklahoma House voting records proves otherwise. There were three recorded votes on HB 3358 on March 12, all occurring consecutively. On the vote to allow an amendment to eliminate the grocery sales tax, Collins is registered as “Excused,” meaning he left the chamber during the vote. Collins just happened to be present for the other two votes, in which he voted “Nay.” Furthermore, on each of the five recorded votes immediately preceding and following HB 3358, Collins was present to cast a vote. In fact, the vote on the grocery sales tax amendment was the only vote he missed that day. Perhaps Collins would like to once again “set the record straight” and retract his denial.

It is a common—and cowardly— tactic by legislators to walk out of the chamber during a vote on which they don’t want to take a recorded position in order to avoid any political fallout. In this case, I’m sure Collins didn’t expect someone to actually take the time to look at the official House voting records.

I hope every resident of Norman, especially those of House District 45, will take into account Collins’s willingness to play dishonest political games. When Collins had a chance to support a viable bill that would finally provide poor and working families with essential tax relief, he refused to do so.

Joseph Fairbanks

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