The Edmond Sun

Our View

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.

1
Text Only
Our View
  • OUR VIEW: Don’t wait to improve reading

    One state representative wants to hold off implementing The Oklahoma Reading Sufficiency Act until more funding for the education reform is put in place by the Legislature.

    February 17, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Votes needed Tuesday

    Voters in the Edmond Public Schools’ District 4 seat will be asked to make a choice Tuesday at the ballot box.
    Running for Edmond Board of Education are Cynthia Benson and Stephanie Bills. This is for a five-year term of service on the board and replaces the seat vacated last year by longtime board member George Cohlmia. Bills was appointed by the Board of Education last spring to fulfill the remainder of Cohlmia’s unexpired term.

    February 8, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Consider storm shelter petition carefully

    Thousands of Oklahomans are expected to sign a petition seeking a state bond issue to pay for installing storm shelters in every Oklahoma public school. And after seeing the destruction wrought in Moore — again — we certainly support the need for school districts to vigorously pursue adding storm shelters to their buildings.
    However, the mechanism that we choose to pay for this endeavor needs to be carefully considered.

    November 18, 2013

  • OUR VIEW: Even one death by violence is too many

    A recent study highlights the rate of women killed by men in 2011. In this study, Oklahoma ranked third in the nation with 38 women killed that year by men, often their partners. In 2010, there were 27 women killed by men in Oklahoma.

    October 25, 2013

  • OUR VIEW: We’re tired of waiting

    Getting to a compromise before Thursday’s deadline to end the government shutdown and raise the nation’s debt ceiling may take more political willpower and guts than most in Congress currently have to give.

    October 14, 2013

  • OUR VIEW: Caudill should step down

    Oklahoma County Clerk Carolynn Caudill has apologized publicly for her actions. She takes the blame for her Sept. 17 DUI arrest and promises constituents that she will be better in the future.

    September 30, 2013

  • OUR VIEW: Thank you Supreme Court

    All Oklahomans received good news this past week when the state Supreme Court ruled that the University of Central Oklahoma can legally use the Master Lease program from the State Regents of Higher Education to pay for bonds to build a new Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office.

    September 28, 2013

  • OUR VIEW: Downtown needs homegrown vision

    Local developer Pete Reeser brought up an excellent question this week before the Edmond City Council.

    September 14, 2013

  • OUR VIEW: Throw out government cheaters

    Conservatives for decades have argued that government is too bloated, that the United States is becoming over-regulated and that both conditions are harmful to our economic future.
    Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, and Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., have highlighted an issue that just proves that the U.S. government truly needs a good pruning.
    More than 311,000 federal employees and retirees now owe a total of $3.5 billion in federal taxes, according to the IRS. That’s right — billion with a “b.”
    According to a fact sheet released by Coburn’s office, the IRS has found the following delinquencies:

    July 22, 2013

  • OUR VIEW: Let’s regulate digital signs already

    For those who have paid any attention to the city’s tortured discussion these past three years about updating its sign ordinance, we don’t blame any of you for being confused. It’s hard not to be when City Council members are so clearly confused themselves about what they really want, in particular regarding electronic messaging center signs.

    June 24, 2013