Kaye Beach

Reckless overspending has led to billion dollar shortfall

In Oklahoma Economy on November 28, 2009 at 10:20 am

The Tulsa Beacon Reports;

Irresponsible spending increases and accepting federal bailout money has led to a $1 billion budget shortfall for the State of Oklahoma, said State Sen. Randy Brogdon.

Brogdon and the GOP Senate caucus has called for a special session in December to deal with the shortfall.

Gov. Brad Henry grew the budget last year by more than $400 million by taking federal matching funds, Brogdon said.

“We do not get to prioritize our budget,” Brogdon said of the federal mandates. “Congress has control of our budget until 2012. We have put ourselves in a position for disaster.”

Brogdon said the shortfall was $700 million when the session ended earlier this year. In this budget, spending rose by $480 million.

“We are in trouble,” Brogdon said. “Gov. Henry is willing to make the easy decision and put off the inevitable.”

In the past 18 months, 36,000 jobs have left Oklahoma while state government added 8,600 new positions, Brogdon said. In the period of 2005-2007, state spending grew by 38 percent. Government grew four times faster than the private sector.

Henry wants to empty the $600 million in the Rainy Day Fund. Brogdon said that funding should reserved for genuine emergencies (floods, droughts, etc.) and not for regular budget items.

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