The Edmond Sun


May 6, 2013

State budget proposal has much to applaud

GUTHRIE — On Thursday, the governor and legislative leaders announced an agreement for the composition of the state’s next budget. Capitol insiders are hard pressed to recall a time when these groups reached a budget agreement this early in the year.

In fact, this agreement brings to a close the last big decision of this legislative year and sets the stage for the Legislature to adjourn days ahead of schedule. All Oklahomans should know it is a good day when the Legislature goes home early.

Once a vote is taken on the proposed budget, the budget agreement will join tax reduction, transformational workers’ compensation reform and funding real property infrastructure needs without issuing debt as the last of the key votes that had to be held prior to the closure of this year’s session.

This presents a stark contrast to last year when many were disillusioned after very public disagreements between legislative chambers kept the Legislature from enacting tax reduction. Gone are the days when the House and the Senate would hold dueling press conferences where they blamed each other for the lack of progress.

It appears that this year will not end with a flurry of legislation coming out of conference committee with new last-minute proposals. Constituents may recall how just a few years ago legislators were forced to vote on huge bills with little prior notice. It does not appear as though this will be the case this time. I believe there will be less than 100 bills assigned to conference committee, meaning that the session could wind down without the all-night sessions that have marked the conclusion of past years.

This progress may be attributed to the composite of current legislative leadership. I have a tremendous appreciation for those who are representing the House of Representatives in key leadership positions. These legislators are responsible for negotiating with other state government policy officials. Our leadership teams contain individuals of sound judgment who are unlikely to have knee-jerk reactions based on small misunderstandings with those whom they negotiate. This prevents small issues and problems from growing into large ones. I was disappointed last year when leaders resorted to press conferences to cast blame, when common-sense problem solving could have avoided the entire disagreement.

I don’t think I am speaking too soon when I say this has by far been the best managed legislative session that I have witnessed since taking office in 2006.

Much has been written about the budget agreement during the past few days. It is always difficult on those of us who are small government fiscal conservatives to come to grips with the new and additional government spending that takes place in years like this one when state government has a lot of new revenue to spend. When combined with supplemental funding the new spending will be in the area of $300 million . It is hard for me to vote for these increases when the foremost focus of my work in the Legislature has been to reduce spending. Time and time again I have witnessed the absurd inefficiencies and wasteful spending practices within state government and I know this new injection of money will enable some of these to continue.

The budget’s saving grace is the fact that it meets deferred real property infrastructure needs without issuing debt. About a third of the new spending has been allocated for this purpose.

Out-of-power politicians are emphasizing the fact that the budget does not contain across-the-board pay raises for certain state employees. This should be seen for what it is, pure hyperbole. Over the past years not only have many employees received pay raises but also tax-free health insurance benefits have become so rich that many employees are receiving significant cash in excess of the benefit. Even though it isn’t in the budget, the Legislature is in negotiating with state employees to potentially approve an omnibus compensation package that will account for all state employees’ compensation and award raises to those who perform well while also potentially adjusting benefits to reflect reality. I expect we will vote on this proposal within just days.

Please don’t hesitate to send my your views on the proposed new budget.

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, on Facebook at and

Text Only
  • 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

  • Los Angeles Times: Congress extend jobless benefits again

    How’s this for irony: Having allowed federal unemployment benefits to run out in December, some lawmakers are balking at a bill to renew them retroactively because it might be hard to figure out who should receive them. Congress made this task far harder than it should have been, but the technical challenges aren’t insurmountable. Lawmakers should restore the benefits now and leave them in place until the unemployment rate reaches a more reasonable level.

    April 14, 2014

  • Many nations invested in Israel

    Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Yoram Ettinger recently spoke to a gathering at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life and Learning in Oklahoma City. The event began with a presentation by Rabbi Ovadia Goldman, who told the attendee that the  upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover was an occasion for them to embrace the children of God, which is all of humanity.

    April 14, 2014

  • Coming soon: More ways to get to know your doctor

    Last week, the federal government released a massive database capable of providing patients with much more information about their doctors.
    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the government agency that runs Medicare, is posting on its website detailed information about how many visits and procedures individual health professionals billed the program for in 2012, and how much they were paid.
    This new trove of data, which covers 880,000 health professionals, adds to a growing body of information available to patients who don’t want to leave choosing a doctor to chance. But to put that information to good use, consumers need to be aware of what is available, what’s missing and how to interpret it.

    April 14, 2014

  • HEY HINK: Hateful bullies attempt to muffle free speech

    Hopefully we agree it should be a fundamental right to voice criticism of any religion you wish. And you should have the right to sing the praises of any religion you choose. If criticism of religion is unjust, feel free to make your best argument to prove it. If criticism is just, don’t be afraid to acknowledge and embrace it. If songs of praise are merited, feel free to join in. If not, feel free to ignore them. But no American should participate in curbing free speech just because expression of religious views makes someone uncomfortable.

    April 11, 2014

  • Putting Oklahoma parents in charge

    Oklahoma’s public schools serve many children very well. Still, for various reasons, some students’ needs are better met in private schools, in virtual schools or elsewhere. That is why two state lawmakers have introduced legislation to give parents debit cards, literally, to shop for the educational services that work best for their children.

    April 11, 2014

  • Israelis, Palestinians are losing their chance

    Developments in the Middle East suggest that prospects of success for the Israeli-Palestinian talks, to which Secretary of State John Kerry has devoted countless hours and trips, are weakening.

    April 11, 2014

  • Teens might trade naked selfies for mugshots

    Will teenagers ever learn? You think yours will. Maybe so. But it's likely that was also the hope of the parents of children who were so shamed by nude photos of themselves that went south - how else can they go - that they killed themselves.

    April 11, 2014


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.

     View Results