The Edmond Sun

May 21, 2012

Who’s responsible, the Old or the New?

Special to The Sun

EDMOND — To the Editor:

Oklahoma is saddled with many fiscal challenges this year. One such challenge is the needed repairs to the Capitol building. This is an expense that should be budgeted for each and every year, and budgeted large enough to enable regular maintenance — which will lessen the need for major repairs — as well as to accumulate a balance able to handle this sort of occasional major repair. A yearly set-aside for such things would earn interest and not incur the expense of paying interest to bond holders.

Even though no fund has been established to cover non-routine major repairs, such repairs need not be accomplished all at once. Doing a little each year would spread the cost out over several years and not be overly burdensome. In any case, the repairs should be accomplished and it’ll boil down to pay for it in steps now or pay more with interest over time.

Paying over time, however, is a commitment that might be difficult to bear in lean years, causing other programs to suffer cuts beyond what would normally be expected in hard times. Smaller steps or no steps can be taken in lean years, then resumed when the economy and revenues improve. This is all within the purview of the Oklahoma Legislature.

So, who is to blame for not taking care of this apparent oversight? One could say it’s the fault of previous legislatures for spending money in too many wrong places. I say it IS the fault of previous legislatures — and just as much the fault of the current Legislature for not fixing the shortcomings of those that came before. All are just as culpable.

Bruce Wood