Members of the House of Representatives will be faced with a big decision in the coming weeks: Should the state sell bonds for the Indian Cultural Center?
On Monday, the Governor brought a lunch of Chick-Fil-A (bunnies and cows agree - eat more chicken) and spoke to the House Republican Caucus about the wonderful benefits of the Indian Cultural Center and the proposed $40 million bond. It has been hailed as a tourist attraction, a way to honor our state's history, and a profitable enterprise that will make annual profits of $7 million in just a few short years.
Conservative members of the Republican Caucus are having problems supporting facist capitalism in an era of budget cuts. In a year where Common Education is scheduled to be cut 4.1%, and Higher Education 5.8%, some will have a hard time voting to give $40 million to a potential public-private boondoogle. If tourists have an extra day in Oklahoma City, they can choose from Frontier City (private), driving up to Old Town Guthrie (no extra government help), or the Indian Cultural Center (half-funded with tax money). Why should our history be honored on the backs of private business?
All Republican members face a difficult choice since all of Oklahoma, the former Indian Territory, has tribal members who would like to see the state honor their heritage. The members also know that the principled conservative position is opposition based on the fiscal impact.
Native American conservatives are in even more of a bind - to vote for their personal heritage, or vote for the conservative principles that got them elected?