| August 17, 2012

Christmas comes early for concerned taxpayers

Concerned taxpayers no doubt will be pleased to hear that Executive Director Deby Snodgrass and the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department are once again using taxpayer dollars wisely.

Director Snodgrass and the OTRD have taken seriously their oaths, and are ensuring that they do everything possible to focus taxpayer funds on the core areas of government and the OTRD’s core mission. We are proud to see the administration following Gov. Fallin's lead on modernization, streamlining and focusing on core government services.

In the latest efforts of the OTRD to use taxpayer dollars wisely, just as happened before, the former recipients of non-core activities are once again wrongly criticizing the OTRD.

Facing criticism from a local chamber of commerce, Director Snodgrass and the OTRD have nonetheless chosen to cease allocating state funds and state employees towards a non-core (The Christmas Lights at Lake Wister State Park) event at Lake Wister State Park, a park which spends approximately $644,000 a year but only generates revenue of $176,000 a year.

Director Snodgrass and the OTRD have said that the department and employees at the park are working hard to improve efficiency at the park and focus funds to activities that are “its core mission.”

We are confident that local citizens and private interests will continue the Christmas lights, in Tocqueville fashion, if they deem the non-core event worthwhile. In fact, we sincerely hope the local chamber and others will focus on rallying and coordinating local citizens to support this great (but non-core) event.

Just as OCPA did when the OTRD wisely determined to cease state support of non-core intensely local or non-state interest serving parks, OCPA stands with Director Snodgrass and the OTRD on this example of the OTRD rightly focusing on its core functions and ceasing to fund non-core functions.

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