Representative Murphey believes that it is time for a revolution that completely changes Oklahoma government. In order for Oklahoma to compete with reform friendly states such as the neighboring state of Texas, Jason is an energetic advocate for the following government reforms:
1. Reforming our tax code and creating a business friendly environment. (Eliminating the income tax, capital gains taxes and cutting the size of government.)
Representative Murphey believes that in order for Oklahoma to grow we must provide incentive for businesses to relocate here. By lowering the cost of business \we will encourage business growth and create new jobs for Oklahomans.
Many reforms are in place in states that surround Oklahoma. It is our responsibility to emulate the success of these reforms so that we can present Oklahoma as a viable location in which to do business.
In the Small Business Survival Index, published annually by the Small Business Survival Committee, Oklahoma ranked a disappointing 34th, meaning 33 states have policy environments for entrepreneurship more friendly than Oklahoma's.
Our per capita personal income in Oklahoma is lagging, businesses move to Texas and other area states for tax reasons.
This truth is demonstrated by the Tax Foundation statistics which shows state and local taxes in Oklahoma at 9.9 percent of personal income, while our high-growth neighbors Texas and Colorado only take 9 percent and 8.4 percent respectively of personal income.
A priority in encouraging business growth is eliminating the income tax. In fact, people dislike income taxes so much that four of the top ten states in population growth in the last decade are states without income taxes.
Comprehensive spending reform must accompany these cuts.
In recent budgets growth in the state government has been close to 30%. This amount nearly represents all of the revenue generated by the personal income tax. If Oklahoma government had not grown any bigger in the recent years the most of the state personal income tax could have been eliminated.
2. Implementing massive spending reform and greatly reducing the size of state government.
It is no secret that Oklahoma state government spending has been subject to years of legislative interference as legislators or other officials attempt to obtain special perks for their friends and supporters. Here are some examples provided by a study from the OCPA:
Oklahoma taxpayers fund 11 golf courses that do not pay property taxes to support essential services such as local schools, firefighters and police, and they also have no incentive to make a profit. These state courses take customers away from private courses which would be generating tax dollars to provide support for essential local and state services. For every round of golf played at state courses last year, Oklahoma taxpayers paid $6. This doesn't include the dollars for schools and services from the loss of ad valorem and income tax revenues that must be made up by Oklahoma taxpayers. Each year Oklahoma taxpayers subsidize state golf courses by over $4,000,000.
One report indicated that nearly 500 employees were listed as unclassified or as "consultants" in just the Oklahoma Health Department alone. Imagine how many more state employees in other departments may also have this same status?
The Office of State Finance reports that our state and local governments' share of gross state product (GSP) grew by 21.6 percent between 1977 and 1997, and the share of GSP is currently 17.3 percent higher than in the United States as a whole.
According to census numbers Oklahoma has 204,348 combined full time state and local government employees, of which 66,341 were state employees.
The national average is 540.6 state and local government employees per 10,000 population. In order for Oklahoma to be at the national average, we need 15,481 fewer bureaucrats.
This over-spending costs the taxpayer. For example, Oklahoma had full time employee state and local government payroll of $536,728,722 in the month of March 2002. The cost for the 15,481 excess employees was $40,661,506 for the month.
When calculating the cost of benefits etc. an estimated range of annual cost for excess state and local government employees is $508,268,825. This is to say nothing of part-time employees and "consultants".
As you might imagine, this study just scratches the surface of government waste. Representative Murphey supports the creation of a government waste commission, composed of economic experts and businessmen that could identify waste, fraud, and abuse in the state budget and make recommendations for savings.
Those recommendations should be written into a stand-alone legislative proposal. This un-amendable bill should be forced to an up-or-down vote of the Legislature within a specific time period. That vote would keep special interests out of the amendment process, and force the legislature to make tough decisions. Rep. Murphey also favors the implementation of the Taxpayers' Bill of Rights as a tool to curb additional spending.
3. Stopping the County Assessors from increasing our property tax assessments by 5% each year.
In a time when many Oklahoman's incomes have stopped increasing one thing remains constant. The steady 5% increase of property tax assessments. This punishes seniors who are on fixed incomes, Oklahomans who depend on owning or leasing large quantities of land in order to survive and families who wish to own a new home.
It is time to freeze the ability of assessors to increase our taxes without justification. This unfair government conscription of our money must end.
Representative Murphey has proposed legislation that places a temporary freeze on these assessments as he believes the property tax the most unfair form of taxation.
4. Guarding the constitutional right to life of the unborn, right to bear arms and traditional family marriage.
Representative Murphey supports legislation to defend the right-to-life of the unborn, defend our right to gun ownership, traditional marriage, and the rights of our community leaders to have the freedom of religious speech.
5. Standing up for the future of our children by introducing free market concepts to the education system.
What kind of organization can be successful when it can not hold it's employees accountable? This is the position the Oklahoma education system finds itself in. The Associated Press reports that a quarter of Oklahoma teachers are teaching a subject they are not trained in. Do they deserve the same pay as qualified teachers?
The National Education Association has shown that Oklahoma is tied for 13th in the nation in K-12 per pupil spending as a percentage of personal income, and ranks a remarkable 4th in the nation in the share of total government revenue spent on education at all levels. However despite this spending the product we receive is at best dismal. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), reports only 25 percent of Oklahoma's public-school 4th graders are "proficient" readers. And 34 percent have not even reached the "basic" literacy level.
The Lexington Institute conducted a study that showed $627 million is wasted annually in Oklahoma's schools as a result of students failing to achieve substantial literacy.
An average Oklahoma classroom contains 17.4 students. We spend $5,347 per student annually. 17.4 times $5,347 is $93,038 that is spent per classroom. The average salary per teacher in Oklahoma is $30,851. So where does the remaining $62,187 go?
A poll, conducted during American Education Week in November of 2002, shows that nearly nine in ten Oklahomans (87 percent) support a parent's right to choose the school their child attends, and more than six in ten (61 percent) support giving parents tax breaks, or credits, which would allow parents to send their children to the public, private, or parochial school of their choice. The poll also shows this issue could become a factor in upcoming elections, as fully seven in ten (70 percent) say they would be more likely to support a candidate that favors school choice over one who opposes it.
Representative Murphey believes we need to honor this request and support the right of parents to choose where their children go to school. In doing this we will introduce the principles of the free enterprise system into the educational community. This will improve the quality of education across the board for all students.
Representative Murphey believes the government has failed when it comes to educating our children. Representative Murphey has the courage to call for non-government alternatives in order to solve Oklahoma's education problem.
6. Encouraging development by paving roads.
For far too long Rural Logan County residents have been forced to commute on sub-standard roads. These conditions hurt property values and discourage the additional development that is essential in order for growth to reach Guthrie and Crescent.
Growth in this area benefits the whole county as it brings additional income into the county that will be used in both Guthrie and Crescent and by hastening the timetable of this growth we assist it in spreading to Guthrie and Crescent sooner than later.
These problems occur as metro area growth spreads to rural counties. It is vital that the state address this new growth by changing the formula by which road development monies are allotted.
It is wrong for metro area roads to be funded like rural roads just because they are outside of Tulsa or Oklahoma counties.
Rep. Murphey has sponsored legislation that would place a priority on funding roads in those rural growth areas with funds that are currently misappropriated from motor tax revenues. Instead of applying these funds to the General Fund where they are used for non road related purposes Representative Murphey is working to make sure these funds are used in growth areas in rural counties that are underfunded.
7. Supporing Oklahoma's comprehensive immigration reform law.
Representative Murphey co-authored House Bill 1804 that made Oklahoma a model state in discouraging illegal immigration.