Archive for the ‘debt’ Category

Murphey Legislative Program

February 21, 2007

Murphey Legislative Update
2/21/2006

One of the most important issues before the legislature this year is Governor’s Brad Henry’s proposal to issue $663,362,000 of new bonded indebtedness.

I feel strongly that state government should avoid long-term debt. I believe it is irresponsible for politicians to saddle citizens with millions of dollars of debt and debt interest and then allow the bill to come due in the future when they are no longer in office. This places debt on the backs of our children and grandchildren. It also makes it difficult to reduce the size of government because government will be forced to keep taxes high in order to pay the debt and interest.

What seems particularly egregious about the Governor’s proposal is the fact that in a year when state government will have approximately $250,000,000 new dollars to spend, there is a move to incur millions of new debt.

Of additional concern is that the Governor’s proposal attempts to use this debt to fund non-capital items. Traditionally, government bonds are issued for capital projects such as the construction of buildings. However, in his budget proposal, the Governor appears to be seeking the authority to spend a sizable percentage of this debt on non state-owned capital items. This is money that will disappear into government bureaucracy, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill for years to come.

It is also important to remember that the Oklahoma Constitution prohibits the government from going into debt. However, years of creative interpretation by the judiciary have made it possible for those who advocate for public debt to open up a Pandora’s box of spending.

If we are serious about rolling back big government and enacting important pro-growth reforms such as eliminating state income tax, this is an issue we can not afford to ignore. As it stands now, the job of reducing the size of government has been made difficult enough because of inappropriate spending by politicians of the past, such as raiding the teachers’ retirement system and leaving us with $7,000,000 of unfunded retirement system liabilities. I believe that members of the legislature must understand that it is our responsibility in representing the people to draw a clear line in the sand and defeat this attempt to mortgage the future of our children and grandchildren.