The Norman Transcript

Opinion

March 19, 2014

Let the public vote on repairs to state Capitol

NORMAN — The state House has added an appropriate element to the discussion of plans to repair the state Capitol — putting the issue to a vote of the people.

The state Senate previously approved a $160 million bond plan to work on the troubled building.

The House version is only $120 million and would require approval by the people before moving ahead.

The Capitol is in shambles and needs to be repaired. When it rains, sewage backs up into the basement.

The building’s wiring is a relic of another century. The facade is flaking off, endangering the public.

That said, we have misgivings about the size of the efforts that have been budgeted. We want the Capitol to be safe and sanitary, but not grandiose.

The House plan is smaller and doesn’t wink at the state Constitution’s requirement that public debt be approved by the people.

For years, Legislatures have gotten around that constitutional requirement by saying bond issues were only moral obligations of the state. That’s legal but not the best way to incur public debt.

Putting the Capitol repairs to a public vote assures that this project is fully explained to the taxpayers who will end up footing the bill. It also confirms that Capitol repairs really are the priority of the state. With that much money on the line, that’s the right thing to do.

— Tulsa World

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