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Capitol Report for January 6: Managing the ‘cost-drivers’ in Oklahoma state government, and “The Trouble with Trump”

News9 Alex Cameron (left0 and Patrick B. McGuigan, CapitolBeatOK editor, give the Capitol Report.  Photo provided.
News9 Alex Cameron (left0 and Patrick B. McGuigan, CapitolBeatOK editor, give the Capitol Report. Photo provided.

In this week’s edition of Capitol Report on News9 in Oklahoma City, policy analyst Patrick B. McGuigan and reporter Alex Cameron discussed the three “cost-drivers” in Oklahoma government. In Corrections, the path to reform is “not complicated,” McGuigan said – state officials need to implement a policy consensus that has existed “at least since 2012.”

That would reduce incarceration rates and save money in the long run. Turning to the state Health Department, McGuigan reviewed information sketched in a recent commentary, recalling several scandals, including one in the 1990s centered around “Healthy Futures,” the “ghost employees” of the early 2000s, and the current situation. As for public education, the CapitolBeatOK editor outlined the Grant-Goodland district embezzlement and the Swink District thefts. Each approached a quarter-of-a-million dollars.

In the latter case, the total over five years equaled about one-fifth of school spending in any given school year. McGuigan also pointed to the Crooked Oak School District investigative audit done by the state Auditor & Inspector’s office, that found hefty compensation was paid to district leaders without school board approval. McGuigan again credited “the two Garys” – Tulsa lawyer Richardson and Auditor & Inspector Jones – for consistently advocating investigative audits of government agencies on a regular basis. Turning to the national scene, Cameron asked McGuigan to explain “the trouble with Trump.”

McGuigan said the president repeatedly undermines his own authority, even when he is on the right policy track, with shocking rhetoric and odd manners. Citing columnist David French, McGuigan repeated his view that Trump’s tweets and language are more than a matter of taste and preference, but go to the heart of what Americans want in a presidential persona. Trump “is capable of controlling himself,” McGuigan said, and needs to do so more regularly.

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