The Edmond Sun

January 18, 2013

Edmond delegation to focus on modernization efforts in Legislature

James Coburn
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Efforts this year to shrink the cost of government to the taxpayer will be the most aggressive ever as lawmakers tackle the state budget, said Republican state Rep. Jason Murphey of Guthrie, chairman of the Government Modernization Committee.

Nine Republican legislators from the Edmond delegation gave a preview of the upcoming legislative session Friday morning at a breakfast sponsored by the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce. The Legislature will convene Feb. 4 with the State of the State address by Gov. Mary Fallin.

The Government Modernization Committee has been reconstituted with a large number of freshman representatives.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to have a member of the Edmond delegation,” Murphey said of newly elected state Rep. Mike Turner who will serve as the modernization committee’s vice chairman.

Turner also serves on the Appropriations and Budget for Transportation Committee, Economic Development and Financial Services Committee as well as the Transportation Committee.

“In the past we’ve looked at those large processes that have a lot of spending attached to them,” Murphey said. More focus will be spent this year on individual processes that impact the everyday lives of people, he added.

One example for improvement that Murphey noted is that people have to wait in line for hours at the Department of Public Safety examination station, located in the Downtown Community Center.

“This isn’t the Soviet Union. You shouldn’t have to spend hours and hours in line to do business at a local bureaucracy,” Murphey said. The department has been directed to develop an online reservation system to create a more convenient service, he said.

“I want to help and assist Jason Murphey in providing greater efficiency to a stable government, and lay the groundwork for a more user-friendly government,” Turner said.

Ensuring that Oklahoma has the best transportation infrastructure in the U.S. will be another priority for Turner, he said. Turner said he looks forward to working with state Rep. Randy McDaniel by creating incentives to bring more business to the state.

In addition, Turner said he supports eliminating sales tax for all guns and ammunition for a tax-free weekend.

“Some of the legislation I’ve introduced will help do that at least in terms of economic development,” Turner said. “One is for any college student that happens to graduate — the next four years after they graduate will be tax free. They will slowly be able to be graduated back in to a normal tax rate. Ideally, we would eliminate our income tax overnight. I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Turner hopes the Legislature will take a measured approach to tax reduction so that the best and brightest students choose to live in Oklahoma after they graduate from college. He also will focus on lowering the cost of college textbooks, he said.