The fact that the federal government will pick up 75 percent of the costs of fighting the recent destructive wildfires in Oklahoma will pretty much go unnoticed or unremarked here.
If the state gets even more federal assistance for the fires and our long-term drought, count on that also becoming a short blurb in the news for one day and then disappearing down the state’s collective memory hole.
Of course, the prevailing sentiment among many empowered conservatives in office here, including Gov. Mary Fallin, is that President Barack Obama and his White House administration have so much to learn from Oklahoma about how to run a government, but that won’t stop them from taking the money.
Some people in this state even wildly believe the federal government has become socialist under Obama, but we all know there won’t be any real attempt to stop those federal socialist dollars from flooding the state.
Let’s don’t kid ourselves. Oklahoma remains highly dependent on the federal government.
On Monday, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management announced that federal grants will pay for 75 percent of the firefighting costs. The money will go to state, local and tribal fire departments.
In a news release, the agency noted that 93,400 acres had been burned in the fires, which continued to burn in some areas in the state on Monday. Dozens of homes have been destroyed.
How much will the federal government help? We know it will pick up 75 percent of the firefighting cost, of course. Fallin has also issued a disaster emergency declaration for the fires and also the long drought, which could lead to even more federal assistance.
What we do know is that Oklahoma once ranked third in the nation, behind California and Texas, in the number of total declared disasters by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
In her 2012 State of the State speech, Fallin said, “In Oklahoma, we could teach Washington a lesson or two about fiscal policy and the size and proper role of government.”
The teaching could go something like this: Get someone else to pick up the tab.