(Oklahoma City, OK) While moviegoers are flocking to a film about the destruction of the world in 2012, Oklahoma is headed towards a catastrophe of its own if Governor Henry depletes the entire Rainy Day Fund this year as he proposes to do. The consequences for the state could be far worse than the Governor experienced when he first came into office.
“Everyone agrees that the state is facing a serious revenue shortfall, but Governor Henry appears to be short-sighted when it comes to solutions,” said Brian Downs, Executive Director of Oklahomans for Responsible Government. “While revenues are down more than 25%, the governor only wants to make 5% cuts in spending, making up the rest by raiding the state’s savings account.”
The tough economic times started over a year ago and while large companies and small businesses are trying to do their best to make ends meet by trimming payroll, state government has added 1,300 jobs in the past year.
“Oklahoma families dealing with similar problems to their personal budgets are taking the proper action of cutting spending to bare-bones levels, eliminating luxuries and frivolous spending,” said Downs. “They aren’t depleting their savings accounts to go on resort vacations.”
Governor Henry is right that the state is facing an emergency, but it’s not a one-year emergency. The state is already looking at a billion dollar shortfall for the 2011 budget and even if the economy recovers, 2012 will be made more difficult as the state has to make up for federal stimulus funds that will no longer be available. The prudent action has been offered up by legislative leaders: cut more spending now to prevent far deeper cuts in the future.