The Oklahoman Editorial

LEGISLATIVE leaders apparently weren’t thrilled with the idea of giving the state’s auditor and inspector the resources and the latitude to run a magnifying glass over state agencies.

Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones had hoped voters could decide in November whether to amend the state constitution to allow his office to initiate performance audits of state agencies. Currently such audits must be requested by the governor, the agency’s director or the Legislature. As a result, they rarely happen.

That will continue to be the case. A House joint resolution (and a companion in the Senate) requesting a vote of the people recently died quietly without being heard on the House floor. If leadership had backed the bill, it almost certainly would have gone to the full body for consideration.

A survey in January by found that nearly 75 percent of likely Oklahoma voters favored Jones’ idea. He proposed paying for the performance audits through dedication of one-tenth of 1 percent of state sales tax revenue, about $2 million per year.

There may have been concerns that this change would give the auditor too much power. But if state agencies are spending taxpayer money properly, they should welcome the scrutiny.

Lawmakers are usually more than willing to let voters decide issues. It’s disappointing they chose not to this time around.

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Bill is the founder of and ShapardResearch, a full service market research firm based in Oklahoma City. Bill began his career in polling after working on a major campaign in Oklahoma from 1996 until founding SoonerPoll in 2004. Under Bill’s leadership, SoonerPoll has become the leading public opinion polling company in the state of Oklahoma conducting more public opinion polls for Oklahoma news media than all other pollsters combined since 2006. Bill’s commitment to go above and beyond the AAPOR ethical guidelines of minimum disclosure ensures that SoonerPoll produces quality results every time. Bill has lectured at Oklahoma State University on developing polling methodologies, data collection processes, and advanced likely voter sampling techniques. Bill also serves as an on-air political commentator for Oklahoma television stations.


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