Editorial: Why a taxpayer funded museum?

State Senate Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, pushed for the state to fund the Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture in Tulsa.

His SB839 provides a $25,000,000.00 bond issue to build the OKPOP to be operated by the Oklahoma Historical Society. Bingman promises that if the state provided the bond money, no operating money would be required because the OHS is so adept at running museums.

The real reason for this proposal is because lawmakers will borrow millions to complete work on the Oklahoma City Indian museum. That project has stalled because it is costing tens of millions of dollars more than projected and the tribes are not going to pick up the cost overruns.

So, if the Legislature is going to borrow more money to waste on a “money pit” in Oklahoma City, why not borrow tens of millions for a “pop culture” museum in Tulsa?

This is why, under the current Republican leadership, state government grows every year. It’s difficult for legislators to raise taxes in Oklahoma, so they “solve” the problem of bad publicity about tax increases by borrowing more through bonds.

With these bond packages, the lawmakers have essentially spent money from future revenues with little or no regard to priorities.

A pop culture museum in Tulsa is not a priority. Tens of millions for a museum in Oklahoma City is a giant waste of taxpayer money – especially when there is a budget shortfall.

The chambers want these museums and they control the GOP leadership.

Maybe teacher pay can be addressed in the 2016 session – it’s an election year.