Rep. Tom Gann serves Oklahoma House District 8. He is a freshman and a member of the Platform Caucus. His bold initiatives are well worth pondering and debating. We're reposting it for your review and perhaps your support.
Send Rep. Gann a note to let him know of your thoughts. He can be reached by phone at (405) 557-7364 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thoughts on Special Session
By Rep. Tom Gann
Last session I introduced House Joint Resolution 1004 promoting a 2-year budget cycle. The resolution would refer a ballot measure to the people of Oklahoma to vote to change the Oklahoma Constitution and the budgeting process. The resolution did not make it to committee to be heard.
A press release was recently issued calling on legislators to take the time for a line by line budget review of agency expenditures. This is something that rarely gets done for the lack of time and lack of perceived resources. I fully accept the challenge.
I think it reveals the need for the state of Oklahoma to change the way we do business. We default to the false premise that we lack revenue and government should never operate on less.
Knowing all of this, the Legislature cannot continue on the tax-and-spend method of running government 'because-we-have-always-done-it-this-way' mentality. So here are a few ideas we should implement to be smarter in the way we do business.
- We need to change our budget cycle to two years to allow time for the legislators to go line by line to see what our spend really is.
- We need to appropriate 100 percent of the budget every cycle and not just 40 percent.
- We need to know how many agencies and trusts there are and analyze what they do to see if they can be consolidated or eliminated.
- We need to ask ourselves the question, do we really need to tax more when we allow for over $3.3 billion in assets and cash to be sitting in accounts that are constitutionally protected. Should the state divest of those assets and spend the money it has instead of taxing its citizens. There is approximately $1 billion in TSET and over $2.3 billion in the School Land Fund, just to name a few of the trusts and revolving funds.