The recent struggle of our State Auditor, who was just evicted from the capitol because bureaucrats think the building is no longer large enough to house our growing state government; is just another reminder that Oklahoma's conservative rhetoric is just campaign-speak. Republicans like bigger offices and shiny new toys even more than Democrats. and they want someone else to pay for them.
In the years since Oklahoma Republicans first started to flex some significant political muscle in the state government (around 1995), there has been an insatiable appetite for bigger, fancier, and heavier cost of running the free state of Oklahoma.
Yes, Gov. Frank Keating wanted a fancier mansion with impressive amenities. He wanted a big heavy dome above the capitol rotunda. But Oklahoma now has to shore up the building under the rotunda and the remodeling and repairs are costing us way more than the dome, itself.
In 1995, the capitol was big enough for the executive, judicial, and legislative branches. Sure, the legislators often had to "double bunk" and share support services. But are we getting better government for all our massive new spending? Or are we being eaten up with more overhead just to keep up our appearances? Perhaps it's time to stop trying to look like a mini Washington and instead we should focus on functional. We really don't need a governor's mansion. Most churches don't keep a parsonage or rectory next to the chapel, either.
Often the expense of unnecessary politicians' perks are brushed off by telling the voters that private donations are going to cover the cost. Yet the few who diligently watch these projects through to their completion will tell you that taxpayers ultimately pay a good chunk of the cost.
Look at the liberal states who pay their legislators smaller salaries than Oklahoma. Two thirds of the states pay their legislators less than does Oklahoma.
Ironically, the Republicans came to power on a platform of smaller and more limited government. the OKGOP platform still touts that core principal. But you wouldn't know it by the Republican leadership's behavior.
The current OKGOP platform says;
Some states pay members of the legislators only a weekly or daily stipend during days of the active session. We charted them separately.
Opinion of the Editor
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David Van Risseghem is the Director of Sooner Politics.org. The resource is committed to informing & mobilizing conservative Oklahomans for civic reform. This endeavor seeks to utilize the efforts of all cooperative facets of the Conservative movement...