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For The Children Weekly Column

“Thank You” to Those Working on Public Budgets

May 9, 2022

“For the Children” Weekly Column by Joe Dorman, OICA CEO

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Joe Dorman, CEO – Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy

Telephone: (405) 833-1117

Email: jdorman@oica.org

OKLAHOMA CITY – “You can’t always get what you want/ But if try sometimes, you might find/ You get what you need.” – The Rolling Stones

The lyrics are from the song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” on their 1969 album “Let It Bleed” as the final track. Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, it was named as the 100th greatest song of all time by Rolling Stone magazine in its 2004 list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” and remains a classic to this day.

My first memorable moment of this song came from watching the movie “The Big Chill” when this song played during the funeral of the main characters’ friend who had committed suicide.

What the filmmaker is saying with the song is the more you want, the more you strive for – and sometimes, unfortunately, the more you get – the more you realize that you do not really need it all. This can lead to the frenetic pace many people lead in their lives to attain tangible wealth, but truly do not find the satisfaction they desire, theme of another song by The Rolling Stones.

This echoes the hard decision each lawmaker faces, not just in Oklahoma, but also around the nation and even in Congress, when they cast their votes to determine what is the right amount to provide to many worthy programs which operate on dollars acquired by tax collections. Politically, you will see politicians fall along their party philosophy with Democrats seeking more funding for programs, while Republicans traditionally look to reduce those amounts and shift toward privatization.

So, the question posed is, “What do we really need when it comes to funding for the myriad of programs out there.”  Nationally, many argue that defense spending, Social Security, health care and other key areas should and do take priority. At the state level, you will see a significant amount go to education, transportation, correctional systems, and health care.

Broken down even further, you see costs dealing with operational support, such as technology upgrades, infrastructure maintenance, and appropriately trained employees each require significant amounts within each agency’s budget.

How do those stewards of our taxpayer dollars determine what is the right amount for what we need? Much work goes into this with the leadership of the Appropriations and Budget committees of the legislatures, the subcommittee chairs of the different areas designated over portions of the budget, and the staff who are hired to delve into these numbers. Additionally, members of the executive branches around the nation, who are charged with spending these dollars appropriately, will justify how those funds are distributed within their agencies, along with making annual requests for what is needed to fulfill those jobs.

We will hear quite a bit about spending over the coming months of the election season. I want to extend a personal “thank you” to the people who have spent time working on Oklahoma’s budget, the most important duty given to lawmakers by the Constitution. Sometimes, they might even have to go against their belief system to provide funds for a program they might not personally like but understand that it is what is needed by those they represent.

This is no easy task, and we will soon see what this upcoming fiscal year budget will include. I am hopeful that the satisfaction will be there to ensure services are provided to meet the important needs Oklahomans have.

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