The Edmond Sun


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

Text Only
  • New Orleans features its own “Running of the Bulls”

    On July12, the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans were filled with thousands of young men who were seeking to avoid being hit with plastic bats wielded by women on roller skates as part of the annual “Running of the Bulls” that takes place in New Orleans.
    The event is based on the “Running of the Bulls” that occurs in Pamplona, Spain, that is  part of an annual occurrence in which a group of bulls rampage through the streets of Pamplona while men run from them to avoid being gored by their sharp horns. That event was introduced to the English-speaking world by Ernest Hemingway, who included scenes from it in his critically acclaimed 1926 novel “The Sun also Rises.”

    July 22, 2014

  • OTHER VIEW: Newsday: Lapses on deadly diseases demand explanation

    When we heard that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had created a potentially lethal safety risk by improperly sending deadly pathogens — like anthrax — to other laboratories around the country, our first reaction was disbelief.

    July 22, 2014

  • Holding government accountable for open meeting violations

    A few weeks ago I wrote about the recent success of three important government transparency proposals which will go into law this year.

    July 21, 2014

  • GUEST OPINION — Oklahoma GOP voters want educational choices

    A Braun Research survey released in January showed that Oklahoma voters — Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike — favor parental choice in education.

    July 21, 2014

  • HEY HINK: IRS interferes with citizens’ rights of free speech

    The patient is gravely ill. We have detected traces of a deadly venom in the bloodstream. We don’t know how widespread the poison is, but we know, if not counteracted, toxins of this kind can rot the patient’s vital organs and could ultimately prove fatal.

    July 19, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • RedBlueAmerica: What should the U.S. do about illegal immigrant children?

    The crisis along the southern U.S. border has politicians and immigration officials scrambling. More than 52,000 children, mostly from Central American nations, have arrived so far this year. The Department of Homeland Security is running out of space to hold them all.
    President Barack Obama is asking Congress for $3.7 billion in borrowed money from taxpayers to cover the growing “care, feeding and transportation costs of unaccompanied children and family groups” when our own veterans are not taken care of. Texas Gov. Rick Perry criticized the president’s plan, saying more money should go toward securing the border.

    July 17, 2014

  • VA scandal highlights the need to change Pentagon spending priorities

    The ongoing Department of Veterans Affairs scandal raises an important question: When our veterans are being denied access to basic health care, why is the Pentagon squandering billions of dollars on programs that do not benefit our military forces? Is there a link in organization attitudes?

    July 16, 2014

  • For better politics, it’s time for some raging moderates

    Like more than 20 percent of my fellow Californians, I am now classified as a no-party-preference voter, registered to vote but with no affiliation to any of the state’s political parties.
    I am for lower taxes and for marriage equality. I am tough on crime and I am anti-abortion. I believe that a pathway to citizenship is a necessary part of immigration reform and that student test scores should be a critical component of teacher evaluations.

    July 15, 2014

  • Father on mission to stop gun violence

    Since his son died six weeks ago as collateral damage to a troubled young man’s wish for vengeance, Richard Martinez has been asked whom he holds responsible.
    “I’m responsible,” the California lawyer answers, referring to most Americans’ failure to push harder to change gun laws after earlier mass shootings. “All those kids died and none of us did anything.”

    July 14, 2014


If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
     View Results