The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 3, 2012

We encourage voting yes on SQ 764 and SQ 766; no on SQ 765 dealing with DHS

Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — State voters will consider six state questions during Tuesday’s general election.

We have strong feelings on three of them, two of which we urge approval and one we would like to see defeated.

See the ballot HERE

• STATE QUESTION 764: This measure would allow the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to issue bonds.

The pledge of credit will be up to $300 million. It would help OWRB to provide bond financing for the estimated $82 billion in water and sewage treatment improvements needed in the next 50 years.

OWRB has been providing water and wastewater infrastructure loans since 1985.

We urge approval of this measure.

• STATE QUESTION 765: This question would abolish Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Oklahoma Commission for Human Services and the position of director of Oklahoma DHS.

The Legislature would be authorized to re-create DHS through legislation. The governor would be given the power to appoint the DHS director and members of four advisory committees overseeing operations. Currently, DHS is overseen by the nine-member Oklahoma Commission for Human Services appointed by the governor.

We don’t like this question because it politicizes the position of DHS director. It gives the governor too much power in appointing the director. Conceivably, there could be a new DHS head every four years, or even more often than that if the governor so decides.

This question came about because of well-publicized issues within DHS concerning children in foster care. However, those issues were addressed in reforms approved last spring.

We think it is better to keep the partial independence of DHS. Vote no on SQ 765.

• STATE QUESTION 766: This question would eliminate taxes on intangible business property, such as patents, trademarks, brand names, franchises, contracts, mineral interests, insurance policies and proprietary computer software.

This kind of taxation just doesn’t make sense. We urge voters to approve SQ 766.