Nov 26 2007
A couple of weeks ago, we paid to view Marie Antoinette, which was informative.
I was surprised to learn that Marie Antoinette was the original shopaholic. I was also surprised to learn that she was Austrian, because we didn't cover that in school. I was truly astounded, however, when I realized that Marie Antoinette was Spider-Man's girlfriend.
Marie came to mind because my daughter turned 17 the other day and we were eating - well, you know. And she wanted to share it with the girls' basketball team even though that wouldn't really leave enough for the boys' basketball team, and that is a big, big dilemma if you're a 17-year-old girl. So she wanted to have her cake and - well, you know that, too.
That caused me to think about our state Legislature who I've criticized once or twice for wanting to have it both ways. I went on an Antoinette-esque tirade not so long ago because our representatives and senators make themselves the only folks on the public dole who are exempt from the state's open meetings and open records laws. I said it shouldn't be that way, and I'll be the first to admit I was right.
Transparency is always good when our money and our interests are at stake, and sometimes the elected folk forget whose money it is and whose interests they're supposed to be guarding.
Sometimes, while a country is going broke and its citizens are going hungry, those in charge continue to go on spending sprees. You'd think they'd lost their heads.
Much to my surprise, Tom Coburn did something with which I agree when he pushed for a federal Web site that would make almost all governmental spending readily available to anyone. Several states, Oklahoma among them, quickly adopted similar legislation. Here, it was SB1, authored on the Republican side but with little opposition.
Little, but some. The State Chamber objected loudly, primarily because they don't want to see details of business incentives made public. It would harm the competitive advantage, the Chamber argued. Specifically, the Chamber said:
The ABSOLUTE Chilling Effect this would have on negotiating economic development competition with other states that use similar incentives to attract jobs to our state.
I say that's wallycrackers. Every state knows that other states are bidding. Open the envelope. Heck, put it on eBay. It won't hurt the process.
Those of you who know me personally will want to clip this column because I'm about to say something I have rarely said: Good for Tom Coburn. Good for Randy Brogdon. When the Taxpayer Transparency Act goes into effect next year, it will benefit Oklahomans - it will help keep the public's business public. The Web site will be www.okopenbook.gov.
Take a bow, fellas, and have a piece of - well, you know.