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New look at government among to-do items for '10

New look at government among to-do items for '10

THE OKLAHOMAN EDITORIAL

Published: January 3, 2010

AS 2010 dawns, we present our wish list for policymakers at the state, local and national levels:

A hard look at state government: What will be a difficult budget year should spark truly serious discussions on what the role of state government is and should be, and discussions as to what aspects of it should receive funding. Forever, the Legislature has cut checks to agencies almost by rote. It took significant drum banging a few years ago — and the death of a motorist hit by falling debris from a bridge — for lawmakers to realize that it needed to fund the Department of Transportation differently. Right now is the time to start taking a second look at all agencies.

An issues-driven campaign for governor: The state has a great crop of announced candidates for governor, among the best in recent memory. On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. Jari Askins and Attorney General Drew Edmondson are running. The GOP has U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin and state Sen. Randy Brogdon. Will others emerge? Perhaps. Regardless, our hope is that the candidates will focus on their ideas to make Oklahoma a more prosperous and healthy state and stay away from the tired, useless rhetoric of flag waving, tough on crime, etc. Voters ought to insist on it.

Defeat of the HOPE initiative: Voters will be asked in November whether to force the state to fund common education at the regional average. The state's largest teachers union is pushing this idea, called the HOPE initiative, as a cure-all to what's ailing Oklahoma's public schools. It's a bad idea for many reasons, not the least of which is the price tag: about $850 million per year, which would have to be pulled away from other state agencies. The union has never embraced real ideas for change in education, only ideas to generate more money and protect its standing. Nothing in State Question 744 requires reform of any sort. Oklahomans need to disregard the “It's for the kids” rhetoric that is sure to flow this year, and defeat this stinker of an idea... FULL ARTICLE

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