Fiscal accountability in reducing size of government

Senate Republicans blocked an amendment this week by Sen. Tom Ivester, D-Sayre, which would have made it more difficult to reduce the size of Oklahoma’s government. 

The amendment would have required all legislation heard on the Senate floor that would result in a loss of revenues include information on how those revenues would be replaced.  Republicans said that amendment would undo recent major reforms.     

“What the Democrats are failing to realize is that sometimes, as conservatives we do things that reduce the size of government.  Sometimes we make laws that lower the amount of money our state collects from citizens, such as this year when we cut income taxes by .25 percent, without the intention of replacing it somewhere else,” said President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa.  “We like a smaller government with lower taxes and a bigger economy.  We are required to balance the budget, therefore a reduction in revenues equals a reduction in the size of Oklahoma’s government,” Bingman said.

Democrat Leader Andrew Rice characterized the amendment as a PAYGO measure, but Republicans contend that while PAYGO is good, it is not as the Democrats explain.

“PAYGO is designed to prevent deficit spending by requiring politicians to explain how they will pay for an increase in government.  It has never been used as a way to preserve government spending or prevent the right-sizing of government.  This amendment would do the opposite of PAYGO, so Senate Republicans didn’t support it,” Bingman said.