Since the recession hit, state economies have been tightening down. There have been layoffs and budget cuts, and still there isn’t enough money.
For the second year in a row, OCCC is not giving its valuable teaching staff raises, and tuition prices are going up. But it seems that politicians can still find the money for favors and political ploys.
House Bill 748 was originally designed to restructure the struggling Oklahoma County Medical Examiner’s office.
However, after all the bill’s writers signed off on it, someone added a paragraph that would have created an $80,000-a-year job.
The Oklahoma District Attorney’s office is investigating Sen. Debbe Leftwich because, had the bill gone through, it would have allowed her to take that job and free up her senate seat for another candidate.
The district attorney also is looking at Rep. Mike Christian, and Rep. Randy Terrill on the same corruption charge.
The frightening thing is that although outright corruption such as this isn’t common, padding bills in this fashion is.
On a daily basis, a lot of necessary, useful, timely legislation crashes and dies when it is distorted and destroyed by everyone tacking on a funding request here or a bit of appropriations there.
The final result is that the more important and timely the bill is, the more riders and padding it receives.
Health care reform comes to mind as a bill that is almost impossible to pass because the bill keeps getting eaten by the add-ons that no one can agree to.
So while schools and public works and state offices lay off employees and cut their budgets to survive a recession, the politicians play with money like a national game of Monopoly.
It seems that the politicians have forgotten that while they may be well paid and given the authority to make decisions, they are still civil servants.
The way this country is designed, even the president can be kicked out and replaced if necessary.
So get out and vote. Hit the politicians where they live. Vote out the ones who have histories of overspending, or padding bills, and keep the ones that treat money like the rare commodity it is nowadays.
It may not always work, and there is a revolving door of people waiting to get into office and spend the nation’s money.
But remember: Those people can be replaced.