... from the State House

Representative Ben Sherrer writes:

Next week the House of Representatives will commence pre-session committee meetings. House subcommittees will meet with state agencies, boards and commissions next week to review existing budgets and spending practices, in hopes of finding ways to trim costs and/or increase efficiency. Unlike the federal government, Oklahoma operates on a balanced budget and does not engage in deficit spending.

As term limits have greatly reduced the legislative experience and collective institutional knowledge, it becomes even more crucial for legislators to question the practices of the agencies. I say that only because the current reality is that those with the most experience at the Capitol are persons who are not elected by the people – lobbyists and bureaucrats. Not every agenda is crooked, but every agenda has a specific purpose that may or may not be good for the state of Oklahoma. As legislators we have be on guard for our constituents.

Frankly, I have some apprehension about my first real experience in the budget process. I recognize the need for government spending but want to make sure the legislature is good steward of the people’s hard-earned money.

This Speaker of the House has identified two goals for this round of subcommittee budget and performance reviews. First, it will be an opportunity for lawmakers to fully understand the function of, and services provided by, each state agency, board and commission. Second, lawmakers will examine options for getting better results from each state entity in question. I agree with these goals and take them seriously.

This week I had the opportunity to speak to about 40 “Methodist Movers” here in Pryor. I also enjoyed visiting with several cattlemen at the Mayes County Cattlemen’s Association meeting. As the legislative session is now only three weeks away, feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments. I can be reached at 825-8989 or ben@bensherrer.com.