The Edmond Sun

June 19, 2014

Murphey an advocate for the taxpayer

James Coburn
The Edmond Sun

GUTHRIE — State Rep. Jason Murphey hopes to continue his work at the state Capitol of improving the efficiency of state government and making processes more transparent and open to Oklahomans, he said.

“During the past six sessions, we have advanced a whole array of efficiency projects,” said Murphey, R-Guthrie.

New legislation is needed to advance a second phase of these successful projects, said Murphey, 36. District 31 voters will decide whether Murphey will continue his work representing their interests at the state capitol when they cast their ballots either for Murphey or his Republican opponent, 48-year-old Andrew Muchmore, of Edmond.

“Speaker Shannon had carried that as his modernization project,” Murphey said. “And so now with him moving on to run for Senate, we have to find a way to continue to get that project oversight and ensure that it’s carried out.”

At issue is whether the state will continue to consolidate, privatize and sell government-owned lands it does not use efficiently. Placing inefficient properties in the free market would generate income and remove dead weight that bogs down taxpayers, Murphey said.

“Projects like that will require continual observation. We have to build on them to make sure the original intent is carried out,” Murphey said. “So that one specifically I will probably adopt myself and make sure to continue to advance that and carry it out.”

One of the first modernization efforts included the reform of the state’s purchasing system. The state’s last interim report shows that reform is expected to save $25 million for state and local governments this year, Murphey said.

“That comes from better managing the way the state spends money and cutting down the cost to the agencies,” Murphey said. Vendors have been held accountable. Contracts will be negotiated again when they become too expensive, he added.

“That’s been the project that really kicked off our efforts and it’s been possibly the most successful,” said Murphey, who had been chairman of the Government Modernization Committee until about half-way through this past session.

Murphey now serves a the House vice chairman of the Conference Committee on General Government.

The most aggressive reform is the consolidation of information technology assets and personnel, Murphey continued. Monitoring for this project has generated savings of more than $40 million a year. Murphey said monitoring this project is essential in improving the flow of products to state agencies by the improved use of information technology.

“Because of the scale of that, it’s been a massive effort and it requires intense oversight,” Murphey said.

One of Murphey’s disappointments this past legislative session was a bill he authored to make it more difficult for state agencies to employ contract lobbyists. The measure made it throughout the third reading on the House floor.

“This is the practice by which taxpayer money is being wasted by hiring contract lobbyists who may be lobbying on the behalf of government for more government,” Murphey said.

The bill quickly united lobbyists. State lobbyists were determined to kill the measure to secure their dependence on government to fund their industry with taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars, Murphey said.

“I’m very dedicated to ending the task of government-funded lobbying,” Murphey said.

Murphey said he is pleased that the past legislative session put in a place the mechanism for consolidating government process across agencies. The website lets the taxpayer examine the quality of services being provided.

“Once that measuring tool will be put into place, the tool will be used to consolidate processes between agencies,” Murphey said. “When that occurs, the saving could be massive because no longer will state government be viewed as a series of silos in which each agency accomplishes their own process, but will instead be a series of processes which should be far less expensive to the taxpayer.”

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