To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Monday, October 18, 2021

Observercast

Privatizing Oklahoma

on

BY BRIAN RENEGAR

Renegar, BrianIn recent years at the Legislature we have privatized one entity at a time. We have private prisons, and we have been sending Oklahoma dollars out of state to virtual private schools.

The excuse for the private prisons is that it is cheaper – but is it? No private prisons have medical infirmaries, so guess where the sick inmates go? To the local emergency room, and the people of Oklahoma pick up the tab.

This year we have passed two measures that will further privatize state entities. The Legislature passed a 77-county private charter school bill. In addition, HB 1566 by Rep. Glen Mulready, R-Tulsa, will enable privatization of our Medicaid program.

And the purpose our leaders gave for such deeds? School choice and streamlining state government. Really?!

I see the reason for privatization in Oklahoma differently. These for-profit out-of-state corporations contribute to the leaders of our government. Also, with privatization, our leaders don’t have to take the heat for problems that go with agencies. They can just appropriate dollars to these corporations and wipe their hands clean of the public disappointed with the outcome.

As far as our Oklahoma dollars leaving the state, remember that every dollar spent in Oklahoma turns around seven times. I guess Oklahomans are stimulating the economy in other states. We should sleep better at night, I suppose.

The pendulum had better start swinging soon, because we are streamlining government right out of Oklahoma.

Brian Renegar, a McAlester Democrat, represents District 17 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives

Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.