OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill aimed at eliminating unnecessary spending on items like drink coasters, mouse pads, pens and more failed.
The “swag” bill, authored by Senator Rob Standridge (R) told News 4 it would have saved Oklahoma $30 million dollars.
“It’s those little trinkets – stress balls, pens, bottle openers, coasters – those types of things the state government does that people may not realize, that you go into the Labor Department and get a little pen that says ‘Labor Department.'” Sen. Standridge said.
Standridge says the last estimate Oklahomans spent on “swag” was $28.5 million.
But, his bill was shot down.
“If we went out and polled all the tax payers,and said, okay, we’re going to have to raise revenue, a lot of them would say we understand but at the same time we say, but we’re still going to print blow up balloons and stress balls and pens while we raise your taxes,” he said. “Every one of them, I guarantee you, every one of them, unless they have a fascination for stress balls, is going to say, please don’t spend that money until you get a handle on the House.”
In it’s original form, it would have stopped all “swag,” But Standridge says the bill got whittled down to basically nothing.
“It got edited so to speak,” he said.
And that’s not all he’s proposed. He also wanted to replace liaisons and lobbyists with accountants and says money was never accounted for.
“Insurance companies being bailed out. You had money being given to TSET for programs that were completely unnecessary,” he said.
Another area Standridge would like to curb spending – requiring lawmakers who quit their term early to help pay for the special re-election to replace them.