Is something inherently wrong with the state of Oklahoma's economic experts? Why is it everyone in the entire civilized world understands we're going through a downturn in the economy and that unemployment is at 10 percent nationwide? In our state, those in charge of putting together the budget missed the boat. Why are they calling for a special session now?
The GOP-led state Senate is trying to prompt Gov. Brad Henry to call a special session to address the shortfalls in the budget. The special session will cost, conservatively, $50,000. And oh, by the way, it is our money that pays for that.
A special session requires a great deal of organization and planning, and when all is said and done, there will be cuts across the board to make up the shortfalls. Even if the Rainy Day Fund is raided, there will not be enough for it all to go around.
A special session should be done only when it is a disaster or something happens that no one could account for or predict. The rest of Oklahoma sure seems to get by when things get tough; we tighten our belts, make priorities and make the right decisions.
It seems that those that are elected want a special session when things get tight. Can they not get the people's work done under the allotted time? Did too many proclamations and official rock songs get debated so that the real work got pushed to the back burner? The regular session starts in late January, and there are interim studies being done since August. Why the emergency now?
Why don't the elected leaders agree to take whatever cut they pass to the agencies and agree to cut their pay by that same percentage to show they understand what everyone else is going through? This is one time when, as a fiscal and social conservative who does not think the U.S. or Oklahoma Constitution are flexible documents, I think the Republican state Senate caucus is wrong.
Oklahomans want leadership, but more importantly, they don't want elected officials who fudge with regulations and guidelines. We will not endure incompetence and a relaxed use of our tax dollars.
Besides, who believes that it will be a short special session? Things were wrapped up pretty simply because everyone was still in town and the agendas were pretty much set. You would be pulling officials away when they are in the middle of the Christmas season and from all over the state. Different agency heads would be arguing why their agency does not deserve to deal with a 10 percent cut. The parties would be fractured, and the rural-urban split in our Capitol would be brought front and center.
Remember when we could count on our leaders to properly figure out the budget and tax inflows before calling a special session? In this time, we don't need to waste our tax dollars because they could not do their job right.
Oklahomans deserve better. Let our leaders know we are not happy.
Loveless, a former state Senate candidate, is the CEO of Phoenix Consulting and the business manager for Loveless Orthopedic and Custom Footwear.