The Edmond Sun

Opinion

June 24, 2013

Has your elected official been co-opted?

GUTHRIE — As a newly elected official I was excited, optimistic and ready to change the world. When I gave a presentation to a local civic group in 2002, I talked about taking on the status quo and bringing reform on behalf of the taxpayers. I could point to any number of abuses and the roadmap to mitigate them, thereby reforming government and taking on the “good ol’ boy” politicians. As part of the presentation, I took questions from the audience. I can still recall a question from another recently appointed official who shared my ideals for reform: “How can we tell when we have become just like them?”

In retrospect, with the experience of the past 11 years, I realize just how important that question is. I have observed the effects of power and seen how it can change good people into bad politicians. A new person takes office with a real desire to restore the balance of power to taxpayers only to transition over time into someone who falls prey to their own selfish ambitions.

It isn’t always easy to know if your elected official has devolved from a reformer to another cog in the big government machine. And worse, you have no idea that you may now be supporting a status quo politician because you remember him/her as well-intentioned with fresh ideas. So it helps to have a set of clear indicators.

I would like to share three of these indicators that I wrote about in 2008.

1. Asking for a tax increase (hd31.org/509).

2. Voting against new or existing transparency policies (hd31.org/510).

3. Voting himself a raise (hd31.org/511).

These indicators reveal the current state of an elected official’s heart. When a politician violates one of these items, you should be on guard. More likely than not, he has changed and should be replaced.

On Aug. 25, 2008, I described the first and most important indicator on the list. Whether he realizes it or not, an elected official waves the white flag of surrender when he asks to raise your taxes. Americans are already heavily taxed at every level of government. Government taxes, fees, fines and associated costs most likely takes over half of your income. Frankly, I have yet to come across a good reason to raise taxes.

In the aforementioned article I wrote, “When the need for more funding faces government officials, all too often established politicians choose the easier task of launching a massive public relations campaign to convince people to pay more money, rather than fighting the tougher battle of lowering their own budgets.”

Ironically, this campaign for more taxpayer dollars usually means downplaying the fact that they have already mismanaged your money.

As a taxpayer, I want my elected official to do his job and do it well, without coming to me and asking for more money. When he asks for more taxes, he is admitting he is out of new ideas and is incapable of doing the job for which he was elected. If that’s the case, he needs to step aside and let someone else give it a shot.

Next week I will write about the other two indicators by which you can grade your elected official. And I will add a new item to this checklist.

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
  • Free trade on steroids: The threat of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

    Many supporters of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, trade agreement are arguing that its fate rests on President Obama’s bilateral talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan this week. If Japan and the United States can sort out market access issues for agriculture and automobiles, the wisdom goes, this huge deal — in effect, a North American Free Trade Agreement on steroids — can at last be concluded.

    April 22, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 22, 2014

  • Chicago Tribune: If Walgreen Co. moves its HQ to Europe, blame Washington’s tax failure

    The Walgreen Co. drugstore chain got its start nearly a century ago in downstate Dixon, Ill., before moving its corporate headquarters to Chicago and eventually to north suburban Deerfield, Ill.
    Next stop? Could be Bern, Switzerland.
    A group of shareholders reportedly is pressuring the giant retail chain for a move to the land of cuckoo clocks. The reason: lower taxes. Much lower taxes.
    If Walgreen changes its legal domicile to Switzerland, where it recently acquired a stake in European drugstore chain Alliance Boots, the company could save big bucks on its corporate income-tax bill. The effective U.S. income-tax rate for Walgreen, according to analysts at Swiss Bank UBS: 37 percent. For Alliance Boots: about 20 percent.

    April 21, 2014

  • Sulphur a future major tourist destination?

    Greta Garbo says, “I want to be alone,” in the 1932 film “Grand Hotel.” That MGM film starred Garbo, John and Lionel Barrymore, Wallace Beery and a young actress from Lawton named Joan Crawford. It told the stories of several different people who were staying at an exclusive hotel of that name in Berlin Germany.
    It was critically well received and it inspired more recent films such as “Gosford Park” and television shows such as “Downton Abbey” in that it detailed the relationship between powerful and wealthy people and those who served them. The film opened amidst much fanfare and it received the Oscar for best picture in the year of its release.

    April 21, 2014

  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Why poverty across the world matters to Americans

    A child starving in South Sudan should matter to Americans. That was the message delivered last week by Nancy Lindborg, whose job at the U.S. Agency for International Development is to lead a federal bureau spreading democracy and humanitarian assistance across the world.
    That world has reached a critical danger zone, with three high-level crises combining military conflict with humanitarian catastrophes affecting millions of innocents in Syria, the South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
    But back to that child.

    April 18, 2014

  • Government leadership complicit in overfilling prisons

    One of the thorniest problems facing any society is the question of what to do with transgressors. Obviously, the more complicated a culture becomes, the more factors come into play in trying to figure out what to do with those who choose not to “play by the rules.”

    April 18, 2014

  • My best days are ones normal people take for granted

    It is a weekend for working around the house. My fiancee, Erin, and I have the baby’s room to paint and some IKEA furniture to assemble. I roll out of bed early — 10:30 — and get into my wheelchair. Erin is already making coffee in the kitchen.
    “I started the first wall,” she says. “I love that gray.” Erin never bugs me about sleeping late. For a few months after I was injured in the Boston Marathon bombings, I often slept 15 hours a day. The doctors said my body needed to heal. It must still be healing because I hardly ever see 8 a.m. anymore.

    April 18, 2014

  • Instead of mothballing Navy ships, give them to our allies

    A bitter debate has raged in the Pentagon for several months about the wisdom of taking the nuclear aircraft carrier George Washington out of service to save money. The Washington, at 24 years old a relatively young vessel, is due for a costly refit, a routine procedure that all of the 11 large carriers in service undergo regularly.

    April 18, 2014

  • The pessimist’s guide to grizzly bears and Earth Day

    This coming Friday, to “celebrate Earth Day,” the Walt Disney Co. will release one of those cutesy, fun-for-all-ages, nature documentaries. “Bears” is about grizzly bears.
    The trailer says, “From DisneyNature comes a story that all parents share. About the love, the joy, the struggle and the strength it takes to raise a family.”
    Talk about your misguided “Hollywood values.” I previously have acknowledged a morbid, unreasonable fear of grizzly bears, stemming from a youth misspent reading grisly grizzly-attack articles in Readers Digest. This fear is only morbid and unreasonable because I live about 1,500 miles from the nearest wild grizzly bear. Still. ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Digging out of the CIA-Senate quagmire

    Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., voted to declassify parts of its report on the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation program. The White House, the CIA and the Senate still have to negotiate which portions of the report will be redacted before it is made public. But this is an important step in resolving the ugly dispute that has erupted between the intelligence committee and the intelligence agency.
    The dispute presents two very serious questions. Was the program consistent with American values and did it produce valuable intelligence? And is effective congressional oversight of secret activities possible in our democracy?

    April 15, 2014

Poll

Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

Agree
Disagree
Undecided
     View Results