MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

April 24, 2014

Best to leave compensation to cities


— Oklahoma lawmakers missed an opportunity to prove a point when it passed a law mandating how cities establish minimum wages, vacations and sick-day policies.

The law, signed by Gov. Mary Fallin, wrests control over such issues from cities and leaves it in the hands of state legislators.

That’s the exact opposite of the argument that’s made every time the federal government dips its nose into Oklahoma’s business.

Oklahoma leaders cry out for state’s rights — local control of issues.

The argument goes that Oklahomans know Oklahoma best, right?

Well, municipal leaders know their towns better than leaders gathered in Oklahoma City.

Cities should be able to make those decisions without interference from OKC.

Costs vary from city to city.

The cost of living in Muskogee is far different than living in Tulsa or OKC.

Who knows that better than Okies from Muskogee? Certainly not dozens of legislators who don’t represent our community.

The concern isn’t about how cities mandate vacation, sick time or wages, but whether a city should have the right to mandate those things.

State lawmakers could have established a range of minimum wage and let cities decide what to pay within that range.

It could have been a test case for how the federal government handles minimum wage issues.

It’s a lost opportunity to prove Oklahoma’s leaders really believe in local control and possibly show the fed a better way to do its job.