Time to cease more taxpayer funds for the NACEA

October 22, 2012

Findings in the performance audit of the Native American Cultural and Education Authority (NACEA) leave no doubt that it’s time to cease more taxpayer funding for the NACEA, and that lawmakers were right to reject another bond proposal. OCPA has previously recommended the end of more taxpayer funds for the NACEA. The findings of the performance audit are discouraging, especially considering that taxpayers have committed more than $112 million to the project to date.

Findings of the report include:

Taxpayers should be extremely concerned that reality and respect for taxpayer burdens appear to have been clearly lacking concerning selection of the most expensive plan option, contracting for consultants for more than $18.7 million and a host of other issues surrounding the NACEA.

This debacle is yet another example of what happens when government expands beyond its core functions. No need for Oklahomans to discuss Solyndra or the Chevy Volt as an example of government waste. Oklahoma taxpayers have a story that hits much closer to home, the NACEA. Given the track record regarding this project, it is no wonder that private participation was minimal until recent pressure to leverage more taxpayer funds. No private citizen or private business could survive with this kind of track record.

Although lawmakers rejected more funds for the NACEA during the 2012 legislative session, some are concerned that the vote was influenced by the looming November election and that the lack of that impending election could result in politicians experiencing "a change of heart" in the next legislative session. Taxpayers and citizens will have to remain vigilant to ensure that more taxpayer funds are not devoted to this project. Let’s hope the legislature maintains its 2012 reaction to the prospect of more funds for the NACEA. It’s time to cease more taxpayer funding for the NACEA.