Time to re­view spend­ing

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - OPINION -

“Fallin points the way to big change” (Our Views, Feb. 6) leads me to be­lieve The Ok­la­homan ed­i­to­rial board has not se­ri­ously con­sid­ered the con­se­quences of the Step Up plan when one reads “The Step Up plan ini­tially in­cluded

sev­eral re­forms. Some ap­pear to have been set aside and oth­ers are re­port­edly be­ing ad­justed. No mat­ter.” No mat­ter? Given the state’s propen­sity for mis­man­age­ment of the peo­ple’s money, I’d say it mat­ters more than all the pro­posed tax in­creases! The mantra should be re­form first, rev­enue sec­ond.

We have a $200 mil­lion to $300 mil­lion deficit this year, with Novem­ber and De­cem­ber rev­enue in­take $50 mil­lion higher than ex­pected. If that rate holds, the cur­rent year deficit could be as lit­tle as $100 mil­lion. When is gov­ern­ment forced to cur­tail its ex­pan­sion to live within the means the cit­i­zens can pro­vide? So far, the state has proven to be ill equipped to safe­guard and man­age the funds al­ready pro­vided by cit­i­zens.

Be­fore ac­cept­ing the Step Up pack­age, I call for all state agen­cies to pass a third-party fi­nan­cial au­dit. Next, be­fore ask­ing cit­i­zens to blindly hand over money, the Leg­is­la­ture must adopt and en­act a re­struc­tur­ing of gov­ern­ment at all lev­els, prov­ing ac­count­abil­ity and trans­parency are im­prov­ing and em­bez­zle­ment is erad­i­cated. The Leg­is­la­ture also must clearly de­fine the con­sti­tu­tional core ser­vices and then pri­or­i­tize the bud­get for those ser­vices. Pri­or­i­tize con­sol­i­da­tions and re­moval of du­plica­tive ef­forts.

Bill Veitch, Yukon

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