A Really Annoying Excuse – How State Agencies Are Fighting Reform‏

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In recent weeks, I have started to hear some of the most aggravating logic coming from state bureaucracies.
This year the Legislature and the Governor approved an aggressive series of far-reaching legislative initiatives designed to streamline government processes and eliminate some of the most costly and obviously wasteful practices that have existed in state government for many years.
As these laws start to take effect, state bureaucracies are trotting out their arguments for why they do not want to comply.
For example, it appears that over 50 agencies have yet to comply with an important initial phase of the state’s information technology consolidation effort.
One of the reasons given by agencies for attempting to opt out of this law is the allegation that the reforms will actually cost the agencies money because they will not be able to receive as much federal money. In other words, modernizing and streamlining services is not acceptable because the money used to maintain these inefficient services is also used to match federal money.
These state agencies are trapped in a bubble where they believe one of their primary missions is to leverage the “free” federal money in every way possible even if it means spending the state money inefficiently.
I don’t think wasting taxpayer money is ever acceptable. It does not matter if the money comes from state taxes and fees or the federal government’s money printing presses. In one way or another, the taxpayers are going to pay the price for inefficiency and massive spending.
Even if no state money were involved, we shouldn’t allow inefficient state government processes to waste federal money.
In fact, our goal should be to modernize, streamline and cut the scope of state government processes and services to the point that we can liberate ourselves from many of the countless federal mandates that accompany the federal funding.
In my view, the highest levels of state bureaucracies are all too often habituated by bureaucrats who desperately desire to preserve the big government status quo. They fear and oppose efforts that will take away their control over big government processes. They oppose new efficient strategies because they do not want to give up their ability to control the millions of dollars of state and federal taxpayer dollars — and they will fight to preserve that control even when it
means defending the most wasteful of practices. For them, it seems it isn’t about doing the right thing, it is about keeping the power that comes with all that money.
On November 10, I will chair a hearing of the Government Modernization Committee that will examine the ongoing state agency and process consolidation process. The Speaker of the House has requested our committee to create a report based on these hearings this year. It is my intent to enter into the record the list of agencies that are opposing the efficiencies and that may be in violation of the law.
It is my hope that by that time, these agencies will realize that Oklahoma’s policy makers are serious about following through with these reforms so the bureaucrats will not be allowed to maintain the big spending status quo.

State Representative Jason Murphey
State Capitol Building – Room #437
2300 North Lincoln Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
1(405) 557-7350 (Office)
1(405) 315-5064 (Cell)


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