Oklahoma Politics: November 2007 Archives

On November 1, Survey USA conducted a poll of 500 Oklahoma voters for KFOR in Oklahoma City regarding the issues behind HB 1804. Here is a summary of the poll, and here are the full crosstabs, showing how the responses varied according to ethnicity, sex, age, and other factors.

(I really appreciate Survey USA's willingness to share the crosstabs and the exact wording of their survey questions. You can find many more interesting surveys on their blog-like homepage.

When given a description of the major provisions of HB 1804, 76% of those surveyed said they support the law, and 19% oppose it. Support was about equal between men and women, greatest in the 35-54 age group.

The survey shows an almost equal amount of support for the bill among Hispanics as among whites, but it should be kept in mind that Hispanics made up only 4% of the sample, or about 20 respondents. The margin of error (at a 95% confidence level) for such a small sample is nearly 22%.

RELATED: HB 1804 author State Rep. Randy Terrill spoke to Gwen Freeman and Chris Medlock on Monday giving a simple, brief, and straightforward explanation of what HB 1804 does and doesn't do, with particular attention to the exemptions that address most of the fears I hear. Terrill explains what business owners, landlords, social services provider, educators, and law enforcement officials need to do to comply with HB 1804. You can download the MP3 of Terrill's interview here.

Brandon Dutcher has hit the nail on the head:

Conservatives favor low taxes, fiscal restraint, minimal regulation, and serious respect for private property rights.

Business leaders and chambers of commerce, on the other hand, often want higher taxes, lavish government spending (to pay for pet corporate-welfare projects), extensive regulation (to thwart competitors), and the ability to take other people's property (for purposes of development).

And that's why Chambers of Commerce, like the one in Tulsa and the one in Oklahoma City, often oppose tax cuts.

But, you say, the overwhelming number of Chamber of Commerce members are small businesses who wouldn't benefit from that lavish government spending, extensive regulation, or eminent domain abuse. These small businesses would benefit as the rest of us do from lower taxes, property rights, and reasonable regulation. So why do Chambers of Commerce wind up working against policies that would benefit all of their members, as well as the public at large?

It's public choice theory in action -- concentrated benefits and diffuse costs. While each small business pays for government overreach, the incremental cost of each piece of pork or new regulation isn't overwhelming enough for a small business owner to distract him from his focus -- getting his own business off the ground.

The bigger businesses in industries that would benefit from a larger, wealthier, and more powerful government have a financial incentive to use their resources to work for those ends. They use those resources to contribute to election campaigns and hire lobbyists. They can also afford to try to dominate Chamber internal politics. They can justify allowing staffers to use paid time to volunteer for Chamber activities or to run for Chamber office.

Gaining influence over the Chamber would have a couple of benefits -- access to millions in city hotel-motel tax funds and the ability to have a neutral-sounding, pro-business-sounding organization advocating (as an uninterested third party) for the program or policy that would make one's own business very prosperous.

Meanwhile, Mr. Small Business Owner writes his Chamber membership check each year, but otherwise doesn't pay much attention to what the organization is saying or doing in his name.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Oklahoma Politics category from November 2007.

Oklahoma Politics: October 2007 is the previous archive.

Oklahoma Politics: December 2007 is the next archive.

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