The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


March 21, 2014

Other Views: House vote overdue

The idea to use $40 million in unclaimed property funds to complete the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum appears to be losing ground at the Legislature, particularly in the House.

The AICCM sits half-finished along the Oklahoma River east of downtown Oklahoma City. Construction has been on hold for two years. In hand is $40 million in private money pledged to get the museum completed — provided that the state comes through with an additional $40 million.

The state has already spent $67.4 million on the project. Many members in both chambers of the Legislature are leery of using any additional state funding, particularly given the tight budget year they’re dealing with. Previous suggestions to use a bond issue for the AICCM have been roundly rejected.

Using unclaimed property funds, which are managed by the state treasurer’s office, would be an excellent fit. Last month, the Senate approved a bill to do that — but only after some members criticized not just the idea, but the treasurer’s efforts to get property returned to its owners.

The treasurer’s office did return $16 million worth of property to Oklahomans last year, a record sum that Treasurer Ken Miller credits to performance-based pay and an increased marketing budget for the program. This year, Miller believes the total could climb to $30 million.

Some senators argued that the unclaimed property fund was “the people’s money” and therefore should be off limits. It’s not clear whether those members felt that way a year ago when the Legislature tapped the fund for $37 million for operating expenses. Or the year before that, when $25 million was removed. Indeed lawmakers have withdrawn an average of $35 million per year from the fund since 2008.

On the House side, it’s evident that Speaker Jeff Hickman is lukewarm to the museum and cultural center. Hickman, R-Fairview, said recently that one concern he has is that appropriating $40 million for this project would surely prompt calls for a similar amount to be spent in Tulsa and somewhere outside the metro areas.

House minority leader, Rep. Scott Inman, D-Del City, says the 29 members of his caucus support completion of the AICCM: “We’re tired of spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars just to mothball it. We need to complete it.”

J. Blake Wade, who heads the entity developing the center, says there is “no doubt in my mind” that many private donors will take their money elsewhere if nothing happens this session. “Three years they’ve been committed to us,” he said. “Another year it’s going to be impossible to keep the $40 million.”

Using unclaimed property funds offers a sensible way to get the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum off high center and on its way to being a first-class destination that would benefit not just the city but the whole state. Hickman and his caucus need to make that happen.    — The Oklahoman

Text Only
  • Our View.jpg Our view: Street smarts

    If your daily commute has been shortened because you no longer have to wait at 26th Street and Connecticut Avenue for a train to pass, thank your own tax dollars.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Other Views Other Views: No time to turn away

    With the shooting down of a commercial airliner over Ukraine and fighting that has now escalated to a ground war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, it would be easy for most U.S. citizens to throw up their hands and turn their backs.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: Amendment 5 is deception of the highest order

    Amendment 5, sponsored by Missouri Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, “relating to the right of Missouri citizens to keep and bear arms” provides that “any restriction on these rights shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”

    July 21, 2014

  • Our View: Vote no on Amendment 1

    Proponents of Amendment 1 — the Right to Farm Act — have not made their case. We’ve met with advocates of this amendment to the Missouri constitution and listened to their arguments, but we don’t believe they have adequately answered the central question: Who is it protecting, and from what?

    July 13, 2014

  • Your View: Power to defend

    The Globe’s editorial ‘More guns not the answer’ (July 15) was saturated with classic progressive blather.

    July 21, 2014

  • Your View: Thanks for the generosity

    Generally, all we hear about is the bad news, and obviously, there is plenty available. Our church felt this event worthy of public knowledge.

    July 21, 2014

  • Your View: How to upgrade your business

    Let’s see now. When some folks wish to improve the exterior of their properties and have other taxpayers pay for the improvements, they create a community improvement district.

    July 21, 2014

  • Other Views Other Views: Decision fails test

    With the announcement that the State Board of Education has decided not to release individual school test results because of cyberattacks and other problems this spring, educators are scratching their heads, as are taxpayers who footed the bill.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Our View: Welcome additions

    After Joplin voters failed to pass a curbside recycling proposal in the spring, the City Council said it would study alternate ways to make recycling easier for residents.

    July 18, 2014

  • Your Letters: Be careful what you wish for on Amendment 1

    The proposed Amendment 1 should have been called “Freedom to Farm Without Any Restrictions Whatsoever” because that is what it is. Do you really want a feedlot opening next door to you in Joplin? Or a hog-raising operation on your block in Carthage?

    July 17, 2014

Local News
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter

Do you think Missouri should pass legislation that would allow a prescription drug database to be kept?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
NDN Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success