The Norman Transcript

Editorials

April 24, 2014

Repairs still needed

NORMAN — Lawmakers once again kicked the can down the road on making needed repairs to the state Capitol. By a 62-34 vote, they turned down a Senate-approved plan to authorize up to $160 million in bonds to repair the nearly century-old building.

The large number of “no” votes on SB 2044 makes bringing the bill back unlikely. A few options remain this session. The decades of building neglect need to be addressed sooner rather than later. Yellow caution tape around entryways is never a great way to greet tourists and guests at the Capitol.

House Speaker Jeff Hickman is in favor of House Joint Resolution 1033, which would send the bond issue to a statewide vote in November. Another plan would be to commit to $10 million a year in repairs and pay that out of the state’s General Fund.

The problem with that is it takes away from needed state services such as education, health care and public safety. The state’s General Fund already has about $188 million fewer dollars this year than the past fiscal year. Add to that personal income tax legislation that would cost the state about $147 million annually by reducing the rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent in Fiscal Year 2016.

One other option is to fund the repairs from the state’s Rainy Day fund. That account was reduced to nearly zero a few years ago. Today, with nearly $600 million banked, it could fund the repairs in total. The fund could finish the Native American Cultural Center and Museum, too.

We still think a bond issue, set in place by the legislature, is the best plan. It borrows money at a time when interest rates are low.

Paying for long-term capital investments over time makes the most sense.

Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Editorials
  • State, local jobmarkets look up

    A tight labor market is often a big problem for economic development professionals. They need to be able to promise companies that there are willing workers in the community’s labor pool....

    July 26, 2014

  • Be careful out in the heat

    This week’s triple-digit temperatures are contributing to heat-related illnesses. The state health department’s Injury Prevention Service reminds Oklahomans of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke....

    July 25, 2014

  • Get smart on crime

    It’s no secret that prison guards have become the frontline mental health case workers in Oklahoma prisons. Accessing mental health services outside of prison is tough but even harder behind the walls....

    July 25, 2014

  • Quite the resilient bunch

    The people of Moore are a resilient bunch. They’ve bounced back from tornadoes before, but the current renaissance may be the quickest yet. FEMA officials said it would take two years to see some sense of normalcy. That’s hardly the case....

    July 24, 2014

  • A fresh start for VA

    All of us have high hopes for the confirmation and success of Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Robert McDonald. If confirmed — and most believe he’s a shoe-in — McDonald will take over a paralyzed system of health care that is not ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Call up National Guard

    We’re not sure it will help, but you have to hand it to Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He deployed up to 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure his state’s border with Mexico this week....

    July 23, 2014

  • It’s only getting worse

    Conditions for children in Oklahoma were starting to look up for a few years, according to the annual Kids Count reports. Now we know it wasn’t getting better. The recession was impacting the rest of the country, dropping their scores....

    July 23, 2014

  • Noting a life well lived

    James Garner never intended to be a movie and television star. He just kind of lucked into it, he would tell those who asked. If you have the itch to act, get a good-paying job and spend your free time at your local community theater, he ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Recount that really matters

    Americans have been hearing a lot about Congressional elections, but there’s another one halfway around the globe that will matter far more....

    July 22, 2014

  • Runoffs get no respect

    The Aug. 26 Republican runoff election for the Cleveland County District 3 commissioner post is one of only 18 races on ballots around the state. Only two races are statewide — the Democrat contests for U.S. Senator nominee and state ...

    July 22, 2014