Jason Murphey: The upcoming attempts to increase fees and taxes

  I once observed a local fast food restaurant experience a drop-off in the quality of service. Long lines of customers found themselves patiently waiting for a product that took far too long to deliver. Word quickly spread around town about the poor service.

It didn’t take long for the the restaurant to address the issue with a management change in an attempt to restore a higher quality of service.

This is a perfect example of the free market’s effectiveness.

Instead of changing management, what would have happened if the franchise owner had blamed customers for the restaurant’s falling standards?

What if they said, “You’re not paying enough money,” and instead of changing management, they simply raised prices? Like me, you probably suspect that the number of customers would have greatly decreased.  For anyone who participates in the free market, this is just common sense.

I find it fascinating that this definition of common sense is completely reversed within government circles.

At all levels of government, entrenched bureaucrats and politicians become skilled at telling taxpayers, “We are doing a bad job, but it is your fault because you do not pay enough taxes.” Of course, they don’t say it exactly like this, but their excuses and desire for more money could be summarized with this simple sentence.

As a taxpayer, I am always disappointed to see policy makers respond to the demands of government agencies for more money with a fee or tax increase instead of focusing on a business-like solution to the problem.

In doing so, they signal to government bureaucracies that the days of leveraging poor performance for big fee and tax increases are not over. This actually entices government leaders to allow performance to suffer, knowing they can use poor performance as an excuse to grab more money.

In my view, when a government agency admits to not doing a good job, it is probably time to change management instead of raising fees and taxes. After all, that is what happens in the free market.

In the upcoming days and weeks, as the Legislature returns to session, many government leaders will once again give into the temptation to seek higher fees and taxes. Those who do so are signalling that they are out of solutions and incapable of discharging their responsibilities on behalf of the taxpayer.

Just as the local franchise owner had to change management to improve service, the voters of Oklahoma must be prepared to turn over the management of state government to those who will work on behalf of the taxpayers.