Once again, the Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs (OCPA) comes to the rescue of our sanity while even our own governor is entranced in the narrative of the cravings of agencies, lusting for expansion and power.
Curtis Shelton has published an excellent comparison of which agencies we're really cut (and there are real concerns about some of them); and which agencies are basking in massive new dollars which Democrat legislatures refused in previous decades.
We've utilized part of their charts to draw attention to their findings. The full research paper is published on their website. Please read it.
Shelton points out that Gov. Mary Fallin has a compiled 'cheat sheet' of only what the state legislature appropriates to each state agency; rather than the full operational budget of the agencies. By doing so, the expansive federal grants, subsidies, and pass-through dollars are ignored. In addition, the user fees, tuitions, sales of products & services, and other acquired resources are also ignored.
Some of the cuts are laudable. The OETA needs to operate independent of state subsidies, just as several other educational media outlets are successful in doing.
But our very roads are crumbling while we offer to pay grown adults from other states to come & enroll in our govt. universities.
- When our able-bodied patriots leave to join a federal military effort, it is the moral duty of the federal govt. to care for the ongoing and chronic health needs related to those veterans, yet the grandstanding at the legislature has led to Oklahoma paying the moral debts of the federal govt. We must see that our citizens are cared for when they sacrifice for our collective security, but we must insist of the Pentagon paying their bills.
- We keep dumping vast fortunes into free education & training for grown wealthy adults. Even the federal govt. refuses to give college money to wealthy families for adult career training. It's way past time to means test that billion dollars a year which the Higher Education Regents are asking for. We must immediately replace that pork subsidy to the wealthy and use the federal FAFSA score, to give education grants on a sliding scale (like the federal PAL grants). That should save the state enough money to adjust common education funding so that teachers' paychecks are at least keeping up with inflation.
- Continued reforms in criminal justice will bring huge savings to the cost of operating the courts & focusing on the really dangerous threats facing communities. We got tough on crime, but we didn't take a prudent look at what that toughness was going to cost our taxpayers. This has meant that we're ruining lives unnecessarily, and punishing taxpayers. We can't afford our prisons and families are becoming unstabilized by incarcerations.
- Common Education is so bloated with administrative costs. But those wasted dollars are not just going to tiny school districts with less than 1000 students. The 1889 Institute published a research paper which shows that the massive urban districts are far more wasteful than the very tiny districts. We must break up the Tulsa School District and the Oklahoma City School District. Together they account for about 100,000 under-served children. If all our common education school districts were between 1-10 thousand students, then education will be delivered in the most efficient models for the best-educated kids at the lowest cost; with the greatest parental involvement. Oklahoma spends $2700 per student for teacher pay. But because we have only 16.3 students per teacher, those teachers are prohibited from acquiring a higher paycheck. San Diego, on the other hand; only spends $2500 per student on teacher pay. But because they have class size structured closer to the baby-boomer era, they put 21.5 students in each classroom and pay their teachers $10,000 more. If Oklahoma followed the San Diego model, we would save $100 million a year while our teachers make $55,000, annually. We would also have a higher caliber of educators because we would be able to use 23% less teachers and less classrooms at our schools.