| May 1, 2012

State could save millions by eliminating NACEA funds

Following is an excerpt from OCPA’s Proposed State Budget for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2013.

With Oklahoma government spending at an all-time high (see chart), the time has come to set priorities and to exercise spending discipline.

As OCPA has noted previously, “An example of non-core spending in state government is state appropriations for the Native American Cultural Education Authority (NACEA), which is attempting to build an American Indian Cultural Center and Museum (AICCM). This entity, like so many others, was started with a promise that within several years of its creation it would be self-funded and require no additional state funding. More than 17 years and $67 million dollars later, the state continues to provide funding for both bond-indebtedness and operational expenses of an agency that still has not achieved its mission.

State Sen. Greg Treat , state Sen. Cliff Aldridge, and others have correctly highlighted this as a non-core function of government, especially considering the state’s investment to date.

“It is time for this agency to operate as it was intended – solely on privately generated funds. Excluding taxpayer payments for the bonds of the AICCM, the state spends $1.3 million a year on salaries and operational expenses for an agency that has not achieved its mission in nearly two decades. As with any entity that performs non-core functions, the AICCM’s viability is best determined by its ability to provide its own support. If the AICCM cannot generate enough private funds to operate itself right now, why should taxpayers believe it can do so in the future?”

The NACEA should no longer receive taxpayer funds for operations. The potential savings from implementing this reform would be more than $1.3 million annually.

Submitted each year by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, Inc. to the taxpayers of the State of Oklahoma and their elected Officials, the OCPA “Budget Book” is carefully crafted by Fiscal Policy Director Jonathan Small to help lawmakers set priorities and exercise spending discipline while creating a state budget that respects your family budget. Offering unmatched fiscal policy analysis and recommendations, Small draws on his experiences as a former budget analyst for the Oklahoma Office of State Finance, former fiscal policy analyst and research analyst for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and former director of government affairs for the Oklahoma Insurance Department to provide perspective on the state budget that you cannot find anywhere else.

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