I hear often from House District 31 constituents regarding their frustration with the ever increasing encroachment of the federal government. From the fear of new healthcare policies to dealing with aggressive new environmental regulations, these constituents express their feelings of helplessness about their ability to have their voices heard. They want us to do something about it at the state level of government.
This isn’t easy. Federal control over the state usually results from either an overly broad interpretation of constitutional provisions such as the commerce clause, or the red tape and mandates attached to federal funding. In this article I describe how the Legislature’s ongoing government modernization effort should serve as a template for rolling back the influence that federal government has over the state by rejecting federal funding and its mandates.
There are few easy solutions. Even the most aggressive advocates for limited federal power have few credible methods for combating federal power. In fact, I believe few of those political candidates who campaign on a platform of opposition to the overreach of the federal government can actually provide substantive and constitutional solutions to stopping the overreach.
To be fair, there been several efforts to assert states’ rights. In the recent past, the Legislature has adopted a non-binding resolution expressing displeasure with the federal government, the Attorney General has taken legal action against the national health care proposal, and we have done our best to stop the federal government’s mandate to adopt Real ID standards.
Fueled by federal dollars, however, state spending has continued to rise each year and now exceeds 16 billion dollars each year.
You might remember an article I wrote in September of 2011 (still available at hd31.org/159) where I expressed my frustration with some state bureaucrats who were refusing to follow the law we approved to save millions of dollars through streamlining the state’s information technology infrastructure. These bureaucrats seem to believe that one of their primary purposes is to obtain federal dollars for their agency by leveraging their state funding against federal grants. They were not happy when we mandated millions of dollars of savings through efficiency, because we were taking away the ability of bureaucrats to obtain federal money.
When state government spends less taxpayer dollars because it has become more efficient, the bureaucrats are forced to draw down less federal dollars as they have fewer state dollars to match against federal dollars.
I think taking fewer federal dollars is a great idea! When we refuse to take this money, we don’t have to follow the federal mandates that are attached to the money.
Those opposing the information technology efficiency effort seem to think that wasting state tax dollars on inefficient IT processes is acceptable because it allows them to obtain and subsequently waste federal tax dollars. This is just wrong. When state officials unnecessarily spend federal tax dollars, they increase our national debt. They do not seem to realize that they are stealing from future generations of Americans.They are perpetuating the primary threat to our future economic well-being as a nation and growing one of the foremost threats to our national security, which is our potential fiscal insolvency.
Fortunately, with the support of the Legislature, Governor Mary Fallin and her team of officials are working through these objections, enforcing the law and saving the taxpayers millions of dollars each year.
The government modernization effort should serve as the template for weaning us off the federal dollar and the accompany mandates. By becoming more efficient, we are proving that we do not need to become a ward of the federal government in order to provide taxpayers with a higher quality of deliverable at a lower cost.
This type of effort is one of the most tangible solutions to standing up to the federal government.
Thank you for reading this article. Your interest and input are much appreciated. Please do not hesitate to email Jason.Murphey@hd31.org with your thoughts and suggestions.