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The Oklahoma Constitution reports that the Native American Cultural and Educational Authority is returning to the feeding trough in their fourth attempt to get the state legislature to increase funding the NACEA claims is needed to complete the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum.

Oklahoma taxpayers have already provided $63 million for the construction and more than $26 million to the agency for operations and debt service. Last November, the Native American Cultural and Educational Authority (NACEA), the state agency created to develop the facility, announced their plan: “We are currently preparing to return to the Oklahoma Legislature to pursue funding for The Center. We will be seeking $40 million to match pledges of $40 million in private, tribal and local government support.” That would bring the total price of the project, including federal, state, local, and private funds, to $173 million, not including future interest on the bonds.

State bond debt payments on the project have been running $5.5 million per year.  If the additional funding is approved, this will rise to almost $9 million.

As with so many other government projects, this one hasn’t worked out as planned.  The initial bond was meant to cover the full costs of the project, but the money ran out in 2007 after completing the parking lot and the shell of the main building.  It has remained in this embarrassing state ever since.  No doubt, thousands of families anguish, year after year, wondering when the AICCM will be completed, so that they can schedule their long-anticipated family trip.  “Sorry, kids.  Not this year.”

I have thought of a solution.  Anyone who has driven for more than an hour on the highways of Oklahoma has seen tribal casinos in varying sizes, ranging from a small mobile home to a Vegas-style colossus, such as Downstream Casino, where I dined last night.  None of these structures required taxpayer funding.  Some of the largest did not start out large, but had humble beginnings.  As the slots revenue poured in, a temporary structure would be replaced with a small permanent structure, and it would then be replaced with a larger structure, and then you’d suddenly start seeing construction cranes.

Let us try this approach with the AICCM.  Start our with a small facility — something like The Standing Bear Museum and Education Center in Ponca City.  If the tribes are so inclined, perhaps they could chip in some of their casino revenues.  Then when visitors break down the doors to get at all of that wonderfully displayed American Indian culture, maybe the NACEA will be justified in building a larger facility.

Plan B would be to fill the existing incomplete shell with slot machines.  The existing debt would be paid off in a matter of months.

18 Votes and a Vision

This is an amazing number for several reasons. I am not a long time party activist. Indeed, I took a very long break – from 1995 to 2011 – with almost zero political activity. I spent that time as a “normal person”, getting married, finishing college, having two different careers and starting a third, and creating four children with my wife. I did some things right and some things wrong, but just tried to make my way in the world. I’m a dad, an employee, and a taxpaying citizen of Oklahoma.

Now if we can simply terminate the OHIET to really mean something — that is the Oklahoma Health Insurance Exchange Trust — a bill which failed to make it out of committee so far — ask Senator Nathan Dahm about that! He tried; My question is “What is Representative Ritz doing in the house on this matter? Nullification is easy in Oklahoma if we will simply terminate the trust. Republicans need to step up and do what needs to be done in committee and on the floor. The people are watching and not amused with anything less than stopping this bad boy legislation permanently. Oh yes and don’t accept Medicaid strings and federal funds either!/sc

New – OK Treasury Online Checkbook

OK-SAFE, Inc. – The state’s checkbook is now online.  Currently, expenditures and collections by functions of government or agency are listed, plus payments by the Treasurer’s office are viewable.  The Treasurer’s press release further states that “Work is also underway to incorporate the receipt of federal funds into the automated reporting system.” One can only […]

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Clouds over America Conference 2013 -- a personal report by Gary Kilpatrick

A personal report from the Clouds over America Conference which occurred in Oklahoma City February 8-9, 2013 by Gary Kilpatrick. Gary currently resides in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Gary retired from ConocoPhillips in 2004 where he served in a number of management positions. He is a Sunday School teacher, an ACT for America Chapter leader and has served on the Republican Party State Platform Committee. In the last several years he has become increasingly concerned about the future of our state and our nation.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Many taxpayers believe the Legislature operates as described in American Government class. They learn that a bill becomes law after first being approved in a committee, then by votes in…

For the past few years, we in the liberty movement have had the luxury of being able to stand on the outside and lob in grenades at America’s corrupt foreign policy.  But now, with one of our own, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky as a potential president, we have to face the reality of how […]