S.Q. 744 ‘most dangerous’ policy proposal, Treasurer Meacham says

altOklahoma state Treasurer
Scott Meacham sharply criticized State Question 744, the ballot
initiative backed by the state’s largest labor union,in an interview
on September 27 with CapitolBeatOK.

Meacham said, “I think this is the most dangerous potential fiscal
policy that we’ve seen in this state, to date.” He said it was in his
view “absolutely the most ill-conceived fiscal policy” brought before
state voters.

The treasurer, a Democrat who is not seeking reelection, said S.Q. 744
“would be devastating to the state’s ability to finance public safety,
mental health programs, health care programs and every other area of
government other than K-12 education.”

Meacham continued, “I think this is a very bad idea from a policy
standpoint. We in Oklahoma are at the tail end of a true recession.
While Oklahoma has weathered the storm and is looking at a slow and
positive recovery, we likely face additional budget cuts in the near
future. This proposal, if passed, would assure yet another round of cuts
during or at the end of its three years of implementation.”

Meacham said “the most conservative numbers” of ballot proposition’s
impact would require that all functions of state government other than
K-12 education would face “just under $1 billion” in budget cuts if the
measure prevails in the November election. “No matter whose analysis you
accept, we’re talking serious money,” Meacham said.

Regardless of the analysis applied to the fiscal impact of S.Q. 744, passage would have significant and negative effect.

He termed “disingenuous” the argument of advocates that growth revenue
would take care of the mandate to increase K-12 funding to equal the
regional average. “The only way to reach their number is to assume we
will equal the growth rate of the three best years in state history,” he

Meacham emphasized, “I’m absolutely for funding public education and
improving support for K-12 education, something I’ve demonstrated
throughout the past eight years. This, however, measure is

Meacham stressed, “I am looking at State Question 744 very pragmatically. It is simply a very bad idea.”