The Pryor Times

March 28, 2014

Kicking the can on Capitol repairs

Rep. Ben Sherrer

PRYOR, OK —  The legislative session is nearing the halfway point, with the House and Senate having now sent each other about 400 measures for consideration.  In the normal course of events, these will be culled down to a total of about 400 that will make their way to the governor’s desk.

This week’s column was entitled “Kicking the Can” simply on the basis of last week’s House vote on House Joint Resolution 1033, a measure that would send a $120 million bond issue for State Capitol repairs to a vote of the people on the November 2014, ballot. Ballot measures can be appropriate - but shouldn’t be used just because the elected legislature is scared to make a decision.

Everyone seems to agree on the importance of preserving our beautiful State Capitol building. Our Capitol’s one-of-a-kind architecture and its priceless murals and artwork depicting our state history must be protected.

But I’ve also been staunch on the position that the legislature needs to do the right thing and commit to getting the job done. Even if a bond program is fiscally responsible due to very attractive interest rates, I’ve generally opposed borrowing money via bonds with one hand and making income tax cuts with the other. Some say its hypocritical of the legislature to pass a tax cut that will reduce state revenue by over $150 million and then turn around and ask citizens to incur debt of almost the same amount to fix up the Capitol.

Another bond proposal has arrived from the Senate but whether it will even be heard is anyone’s guess right now. I’m hopeful for a program that will include some cash up front/pay as we go provisions. Whatever ultimately happens I hope the legislature will make a final decision and be accountable for it - not kick the can on the issue.

During the session I can be reached on this or any other pending issue at or 800-522-8502. Until next time, God bless you.