The Edmond Sun

Opinion

January 13, 2014

Flood of big government spending starts to subside

EDMOND — Those who have lived on the west side of Guthrie are skilled at recognizing the signs of subsiding flood waters from the periodic flooding of the Cottonwood Creek. We know the flood waters have reached their peak when a thin line of debris builds up at the edge of the waterline, which suddenly seems a little less forceful than just minutes earlier. Soon thereafter, the water starts its long retreat back to the banks of the creek and leaves the debris line as a testament to the overwhelming power of the flood.

Last week, Oklahoma released its latest annual financial report. In my view, this is the most important document produced by state government because it exposes its true size and provides the first official indications that the flood of big government spending might be subsiding.

In past years, even when the Legislature has appropriated less money, fiscal conservatives argued that state government actually continued to grow because the annual financial report showed skyrocketing state revenues and growing debts. And they were right!

This year’s report shows Oklahoma’s recent track toward fiscal conservatism is finally starting to have a tangible impact. For the first time in years, the amount of money taken in by state government is less than the year before. Based on this metric, for the first time in recent history, the size of state government actually has become smaller.

Even better, the amount of bond debt on the books for the state’s governmental funds has significantly declined; it dropped by $85 million.

Conservatives should recognize and praise this success.

The financial sheets aren’t the only recently released documents showing progress. A few weeks ago, the Oklahoma Department of Libraries released its latest directory of state agencies, boards and commissions. Last year we successfully passed multiple bills that eliminated or consolidated about 10 percent of these entities. The new ABC book reflects our work. It is 14 pages thinner than its predecessor. That’s 14 pages of government entities that have simply disappeared!

Make no mistake: This progress comes because courageous individuals are working hard to advance small government principles while defeating ongoing attempts to return to the days of big spending through debt issuance.

House Speaker T.W. Shannon and the legislative leadership of the House of Representatives provide an excellent example of this courage. Few realize the tremendous pressure brought upon Shannon and House leaders to issue debt last year. Instead, they stood up to the pressure and refused to issue debt. That’s why the state’s governmental funds are now on the long road to financial freedom.

Shannon and legislative conservatives are insistent that Oklahoma Republicans not repeat the big spending mistakes of their national counterparts. For years, Republicans held power in Washington, D.C., but did not fulfill the promise to stop spending and debt. The voters understandably became unable to tell the difference between Republicans and Democrats on fiscal issues and to this day, federal-level Republicans greatly and rightly suffer from a lack of credibility as a result.

As our next session approaches, there may be some who once again resort to advocating for more debt. They are oblivious to the new reality that Oklahoma’s fiscally conservative elected officials are ushering in a new era of fiscal conservatism.

For years, massive out-of-control state government spending and debt issuance has moved forward with the power of a mighty flood. Now, for the first time, the careful observer can see the first telltale signs of a subsiding flood as government spending starts its retreat back to reasonable levels.

REP. JASON MURPHEY, R-Guthrie, represents House District 31, which encompasses all of Logan County and a portion of northern Edmond. He may be reached via email at jason.murphey@okhouse.gov.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • 'Too big to fail' equals 'too eager to borrow'

    Four years ago this month, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law, promising that the 848-page financial law would “put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all,” he said. But recently, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a Detroit crowd that “the biggest banks are even bigger than they were when they got too big to fail in 2008.”
    Who’s right?

    July 30, 2014

  • Sheltons travel for better life for family

    Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at www.edmondsun.com show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Technology that will stimulate journalism’s future is now here

    To say technology has changed the newspaper media industry is understating the obvious. While much discussion focuses on how we read the news, technology is changing the way we report the news. The image of a reporter showing up to a scene with a pen and a pad is iconic but lost to the vestiges of time.
    I am asked frequently about the future of newspapers and, in particular, what does a successful future look like. For journalists, to be successful is to command multiple technologies and share news with readers in new and exciting ways.

    July 23, 2014

Poll

The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
Undecided
     View Results