Earlier this year, I wrote about my decision to help bring attention to the need for a federal balanced budget amendment. I enjoyed the opportunity to document the significant amount of support in the Oklahoma Legislature for ratifying the amendment if Congress would just give us the opportunity to do so.
I also mentioned my hesitance to take on new tasks. Over the past few years I have become very focused on finding inefficient government processes and helping write and pass the legislation to transform those processes. It is my belief that this effort could result in massive tax reduction for Oklahoma taxpayers. I think it is immoral for state government to take your money and waste it in unbelievably inefficient and dysfunctional processes.
I firmly believe that these reforms could allow Oklahoma to completely eliminate its state income tax. This is one of the most important reforms that could happen because studies have shown that the absence of an income tax has been a key factor in incentivizing economic growth.
As you might imagine, this work has taken time. One of my biggest challenges has been to stay focused and not take on too many major efforts. This isn’t easy because there are so many areas in state government that need reform. At any moment, I am likely to take on a new major reform effort.
For instance, I am tempted to focus on welfare reform each time I observe someone using an access card (your money) to purchase junk food while using their own money to purchase cigarettes.
Each time higher education institutions raise tuition on students yet again, while their own budgets skyrocket upwards, even during an economic downturn, I feel the temptation to invest my energy in reforming the higher education system. I think the actions of higher education over the past few years have proven that the Legislature should have never turned over the right to raise tuition to higher education. Technology should be driving down the cost of education. The increases do a great disservice to Oklahoma students.
I am tempted to focus my efforts on human services reform whenever I see reports of DHS placing a child in a dangerous environment or see them remove a child from a safe environment. I have a series of ideas for human services reform that I plan to write about in the future.
Of course, common education reform represents one of the greatest areas of need for reform. There are far too many school districts, way too much red tape, and limited freedom of parental choice. The Legislature's refusal to act more proactively over the years on education reform has trapped thousands of students in failing school systems. I have a great distaste for the actions of politicians who grandstand on the education issue while constantly blocking attempts to enact reform.
And, then there is the antiquated system for addressing the state’s road needs. From an antiquated funding formula to a bureaucracy-heavy, top-down approach to paving local roads, too much money is soaked up in costly bureaucratic processes that are feeding a government bureaucracy and taking money away from paving roads. I could commit a great deal of focus on this issue.
These are just a few of the efforts, each of which one could spend their entire time in the Legislature seeking to accomplish. At this time, I am determined to stay focused on the effort to reduce the size of state government. However, I am also subject to taking on one or several of these efforts -- and others I haven't mentioned yet. And of course, I am always prepared to vote in support of my colleagues in the House and Senate who are working to accomplish these and other reforms. I also very much appreciate your continued feedback and suggestions. My views on the need for these reforms have been heavily influenced by the input I have received.