The Conservative View
by Russell Turner
Who Serves Who?
Over several years our elected officials have created so many agencies and departments that they are collapsing under their own weight. Like a person that has a credit card and lacks the ability to control his spending, our government has a never-ending appetite for more and more of the money that we work hard for. Over the past few years I have noticed many agencies having budget problems, often times they were created for some specific purpose to serve the people; sadly they are turning their priorities into being a fundraising organization. Often the legislature creates boards and commissions and they allow the un-elected bureaucrats too much authority to raise fees and licenses upon the people that they were supposed to help in the first place.
In the Oklahoma legislature, House Joint Resolution 1086 filed by State Representative George Faught would have protected the people of Oklahoma from a new groundwater permit fee recently adopted by the Oklahoma Water Recourses Board. The new agency rule would force rural Oklahomans to pay nearly a half million dollars in new fees. The rule would require a $50 fee for all groundwater permits, including those used for agriculture irrigation. This $50 fee would be per permit up to $500 per person and would be paid annually with an additional $50 late fee. Faught was quoted as saying, “We’ve seen a growing tendency among state agencies to do an end-run around the Legislature and fill budget holes by enacting fee increases on working Oklahomans without legislative approval. HJR 1086 would have prevented that taxation without representation during this challenging economic climate. The Legislature should not cede budget authority to unelected bureaucrats.” HJR 1086 passed the Oklahoma House, but was denied a hearing in the State Senate. The Oklahoma Farm Bureau was among those opposing the fee hike and supporting Faught’s legislation.
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