The Edmond Sun


November 17, 2012

OUR VIEW: Doing the right thing

EDMOND — On Wednesday, the Oklahoma House of Representatives and the Senate swore in their newly elected and re-elected members in preparation of the 2013 legislative session. It was a moment for those elected to public office to savor their success, share their victory with family and friends who came to watch the ceremonies and be cordial with their new colleagues.

We want to congratulate those in the Edmond delegation who regained their offices and to heartily welcome newly elected House District 82 Rep. Mike Turner, R-Oklahoma City, whose district includes much of the Deer Creek area.

This next legislative session will be one of the most intriguing sessions to watch in recent memory for a variety of reasons.

The saga of how much federal funding Oklahoma will accept and the mandates that come with those monies will be an overriding theme of the next session. The debate over federally mandated health exchanges will be just the first of probably several such fights to occur in the next year.

At the same time, Oklahoma’s continued strong economy likely will give legislators a significant increase in revenue to spend, putting the state almost back to pre-recession income levels. A Tax Foundation report recently critiqued the 2012 legislative session for its spending growth, citing Oklahoma as one of the states with the largest government spending increase in the nation while in the hands of a Republican-dominated government.

While that political conundrum is true, there are some good reasons for it. For decades, when Oklahoma was under Democrat control, the state utterly failed to appropriately maintain and fund regular infrastructure improvements. Those failures ranged from a deteriorating highway system to a failure to adequately maintain law enforcement levels commensurate with the state’s growing population. The state also allowed the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office to stagnate to the point the agency lost its accreditation. Our state’s citizens cannot even visit the state Capitol without fear of masonry falling on their heads as they walk in the door.

Since Republicans took over the House and Senate reforms have been in the making such as the consolidation of the state’s IT infrastructure that is estimated to save more than $200 million when complete. Particularly since the election of Gov. Mary Fallin, the state is starting to see some of the above-mentioned problems corrected. There are many more problems waiting to be tackled and most will take funding to fix them.

It stands to reason that Oklahoma will need to increase spending in certain areas to correct the past gross mismanagement of state resources.

The key to this expenditure increase, however, will be to ruthlessly eliminate government excess and waste in other areas that are not core functions of government. By focusing on repairing necessary infrastructure, adequately funding public safety and creating policies that foster economic growth, Oklahoma has a chance at creating a haven in the U.S. for those who believe that limited government is the best government. It is also a path to creating a state that offers a quality of life and a business environment that will be the envy of the rest of the nation.

To achieve these goals — a state that supports its citizens’ economic development efforts instead of just taking their money for wasteful reasons — our 2013 legislative leadership must demonstrate perseverance, vigilance, integrity and a passion for doing the right thing, which includes continued government spending reforms.

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  • 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

  • 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


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.

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