Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Dan Fisher answers survey on special session


Last Monday, I emailed the Republican candidates for Governor for their thoughts on the budget agreement that Governor Fallin had announced. At the time, the plan included about $200M in increased spending (primarily through pay raises) and about $443M in tax hikes.

Dan Fisher was the only candidate to get back with me on this particular survey. Here's what he had to say:

JF: What is your opinion on the agreement as announced?  
DF: This is exactly what I expected because there is a total lack of innovative thinking in government today. Predictable, self-created problems appear because government refuses to “police” itself and then old solutions (that almost always grow government and raise taxes) are taken off of the shelf, dusted off, and then “sold” to the people as the only option. The Legislature braces to endure a few weeks of criticism and then when the people realize their voice means little, it’s back to business as usual until the next predictable self-created crisis emerges.

JF: If you were Governor, what would you be proposing (if different)? 
DF: My response would NOT be the knee-jerk reaction of going back to the people to demand more of their hard earned money.  If I were governor, I would prove what we all intuitively know:  there is easily enough waste, abuse, misappropriation, and duplication of services in government to find the $215,000,000 needed right now if leaders were willing to lead and do the hard work of investigating and trimming government.  Until that hard work is done, I’d simply reduce government by the $215 million we are short – which amounts to around a 2.38% reduction across the board.  That’s what the rest of us do when our personal finances are tight. 

JF: What is your position on giving pay raises at a time when the state budget has an existing deficit and a projected deficit for the upcoming fiscal year?
DF: I believe pay-raises are in order when we can afford them.  I am not for pay raises because of political pressure. The cost burden associated with pay raises is not just borne in the year the raises are given; these increased costs become the new “normal” and are shouldered for generations to come.  Increases in government spending are hardly ever reduced later.  As we have seen time and time again, by its nature, government grows rather than shrinks.  I will not put hard working Oklahomans on the hook to lose more of their income because of political expediency.  We've all had enough of that.

JF: What is your position on increasing the fuel tax to plug other budgetary holes, rather than directing those monies to increased funding for transportation?
DF: You’ve worded this question properly and we're once again being asked to "plug" another hole. Eventually, the Captain of the Titanic, Edward John Smith, realized that you can only "plug" so many holes. We need to stop looking for corks to fix budget problems and “audit everything,” find the waste and misspending in our government, and then fundamentally fix those structural problems instead of continuing to "plug" holes and thereby continue running what I call a “gimmick” government.

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