New Oklahoma House speaker should push for Capitol bond issue

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: February 12, 2014
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In other words, the state can absolutely afford a bond issue for this purpose. It could afford an even larger bond issue, if legislators decided they wanted to do something about the Jim Thorpe Building or the Veterans Affairs building, which also are in disrepair.

That may be asking too much. After all, Shannon wasn’t the only voice in his caucus who opposed a bond issue. Many GOP members think it’s a bad idea, even if they apparently don’t think it’s irresponsible to take out a mortgage to pay for their homes or to secure a bank loan to buy an automobile.

Bond issues offer a responsible, conservative way to repair and maintain infrastructure. Ratings agencies have been telling state officials for years that Oklahoma needs more bonded indebtedness because it shows they’re investing in the state. It also helps to secure lower interests rates.

In advance of being selected speaker, Hickman said he didn’t think anyone questions the need to repair the Capitol. “It’s unsafe. It’s an embarrassment,” he told The Associated Press. “Obviously, something needs to be done.”

He now has the clout to help get that something done. If the House rejects the idea, so be it. But that should happen only after he has worked hard to sell them on the merits — as opposed to simply waving his hand and saying, “Not on my watch.”

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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