Here is an antiquated House procedure that should be corrected: members of the House of Representatives vote on key legislation during a limited two-minute time frame.
Every so often, I field this question from those who are interested in state government: “How can I see state finances?”
Here’s some encouraging news: notwithstanding this year’s repeated ferocious attack by the Legislature upon the wallet of Oklahoma taxpayers, there is hope for the future.
For much of Oklahoma’s history, the conservative fiscal values of Oklahomans were upheld because state officials were unable to issue general bonded indebtedness without first receiving approval through a vote of the people. This is because Oklahoma’s constitution requires a balanced budget and prevents debt issuance without a vote of the people.
When asked to point out what I believe to be the most wasteful and inappropriate form of government spending, I can answer without hesitation. Without a doubt, it is the extremely inappropriate tendency of government agencies to hire private lobbying firms.
“We have a LOT of travel! There are a lot of savings to be found in this area.”
How would you reduce the state budget? To answer this question, I have maintained the following framework for restoring a responsible and fiscally conservative budget — without increasing taxes.
Observing the Legislature over the past 11 years have given me much perspective. I now have a tremendous appreciation for those courageous legislators who are willing to defend the taxpayer interests even under the most difficult of circumstances.
I have made it a practice to keep on file notable correspondence both written and emailed. From time to time, I go through these archives. Some of this correspondence is quite timeless and still relevant.
Every so often a member of the local constituency inquires about the impact of Oklahoma lottery proceeds upon common education.
Prior to holding office I had heard the commonly used Action quote: “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
It is a very old story and I have heard it repeated many times. It seems that legislators cannot hold a budget hearing or meet with representatives of state government agencies without being subjected to a long and nuanced description of the agency’s great financial needs.
Last week I described the dangerous decline of transparency in the Legislature and how this is leading to an environment into which terrible ideas are quickly advancing from introduction to passage before legislators can figure out the implications and before the public can realize what is being done to them.
Last week I described a key moment from the 2015 legislative session that put the Oklahoma Legislature on a downward transparency trajectory: legislators suspended an important transparency policy because their leaders told them that they would be required to work on a Saturday if they failed to approve the suspension.
Last week I wrote of the devolution of openness in the Oklahoma Legislature.
Longtime readers will know that from the time of my election in 2006 until a few years ago I was quite bullish on the potential for legislative transparency.
It was the last straw. For years, an area-based business owner had managed to deal with the stressful and potentially punitive sales tax collection requirements of the state, but a fiscally foolish decision by the governor and this year’s state legislature finally pushed him into a decision that will prove very costly to the state.
That was my first thought as I stared up at the monitor in the Appropriations Committee hearing room. The committee was just starting to consider the 2018 appropriations bill — a bill that was supposed to be House Bill 2401; however, the screen informed those of us on the committee that Senate Bill 860 was […]
Would you believe that the House Appropriations Committee approved the 2018 state budget without reading a single word of the bill?
As this legislative year concluded, those who had been trying to raise taxes gave up on all but the smallest pretense of following the Constitution.