by State Rep. Jason Murphey (OK-31)
I have either been involved in or closely observed some level of government for almost ten years. In that time I have studied a series of local, county and state government entities, as well as an array of government public trusts.
I have spent a good deal of time listening to those groups argue about why they needed to continue receiving taxpayer largesse, need more taxes and fees, or want approval for new debt spending. I cannot recall one single time when a representative of any government group admitted to having too much money and suggested that the money be returned to the taxpayers from whom it was taken.
A naive person who did not maintain a healthy sense of skepticism would quickly adopt the point of view that almost all elements of government are terribly underfunded and much good would be accomplished with higher taxes and more debt spending.
Those who advance the notion of more government spending usually do so in a smooth and professional manner but every once in a while, a bureaucrat mistakenly reveals the true state of affairs. This was illustrated when I recently attended a meeting in which a group government officials listened to a very professional presentation by a representative of a government entity. The presentation communicated the need for money faced by the agency and was not unlike any number of similar presentations I have heard over the years.
Following his sales pitch, the presenter introduced to the group a high ranking official in his agency. Apparently unaware that a few state representatives where in the room, that official announced that he had been very busy lately because his agency was nearing the end of its fiscal year and his boss had apparently discovered a few extra hundred thousand dollars and had tasked him with quickly spending the money before the fiscal year expired. After all, the agency wouldnâ€™t want elected officials to discover they had overfunded the agency, and certainly the agency did not want to run the risk of facing reduced funding.
To hear a high ranking official make this comment was shocking in and of itself, especially following the recently concluded sales pitch of his subordinate. However, what I found to be the most discouraging was the reaction of the audience. Instead of expressing shock or disgust at this obvious waste of taxpayer dollars, several of the government officials met the comments with applause and laughter.
Their reaction created the distinct impression in my mind that those who celebrated these comments support taking from the taxpayer even when it is unnecessary to do so. This speaks to the fact that they no longer consider their positions to be positions of trust in which their foremost duty is to guard the taxpayersâ€™ money.
Incidents like this illustrate the importance of tax reduction and much greater transparency. To this end, I look forward to drafting and sponsoring an aggressive schedule of legislation during the upcoming session that both cuts spending and brings about greater transparency than ever before. The taxpayers must have the easy ability to see how, where and when the government bureaucrats are spending our money.
Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, represents House District 31, which encompasses all of Logan County and a portion of northern Edmond. Murphey also owns and operatesÂ WebTeks CMS. He may be reached via e-mail atÂ [email protected].