With the new gains in the State House and State Senate last night, Republicans now have an iron grip on the state legislature. The GOP holds 70 of 101 seats in the House, and 32 of 48 seats in the Senate.
Control of the legislature has been transitioning to the Republicans over the past decade, but last night the GOP hit the gas pedal. Democrats now cannot stop any procedure without Republicans joining them. In addition, every statewide office is now held by a Republican.
This means that the GOP is in total control of policy-setting from inception to implementation. This also means that the GOP has no one to blame for failure to follow conservative ideals.
The time has come to stop talking about reforming Oklahoma government; now is the time for action. And let's start with a new House Appropriations & Budget chairman.
I call on incoming Speaker of the House Kris Steele to appoint State Rep. Mike Reynolds as the 2011-2012 Appropriations & Budget Committee chairman.
No one in the State House knows as much about the appropriations process as Mike Reynolds does, and no one is as good a choice for reforming the way things are done. He owes no one, and is not afraid to step on toes to get things accomplished - two valuable traits when it comes to reform.
Reynolds is not owned by any special interest group, or any firm of political consultants. He will be a reformer that will make Oklahoma's budget process much more open, transparent, and accessible - for legislative members and the public alike. Currently, the budget process is decided by a tiny handful of people - the average legislator knows next to nothing about the budget numbers until the actual budget is revealed from behind closed doors. Under the current arrangement, our elected representatives have nothing to do except vote up or down on the final version; they have extremely little to no input on the budget. This must change.
Mr. Speaker, do you want to get rid of waste, fraud and abuse in Oklahoma's budget? A&B Chairman Mike Reynolds, together with State Auditor Gary Jones, will be the best team to accomplish that. Do you really believe that less government means more freedom? A&B Chairman Mike Reynolds will work toward that goal more so than anyone else in that position would. Do you want an A&B Chairman who is not controlled by consultants, lobbyists, unions or other special interest groups? Do you want an A&B Chairman who will stand resolute against corruption, and will expose and end the waste, fraud and abuse that we know exists in our budget? Do you want an A&B Chairman who will resist the all-too-common urge to grow government, and will instead seek to restrain it? If so, State Rep. Mike Reynolds is your man.
Will it make you popular with the powers-that-be who always seek to influence Oklahoma government? No. Will it make you popular with the political consultants who have run the show for years? No. Will it make you popular with bureaucrats and lobbyists? No.
Mr. Speaker, if you truly wish to really reform Oklahoma government… if you want to end the ‘good ole boy’ budget process… if you desire to advance conservatism, then Oklahoma needs you to appoint Mike Reynolds as chairman of the Appropriations & Budget Committee.