Oklahoma lawmaker files Rainy Day Fund bill for long-term budget reforms

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Money being cut from agencies

OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma senator has introduced a bill dealing with the state’s Rainy Day Fund and is now speaking out on the state’s budget crisis.

“The thing that should frustrate all of us is that we have a century of experience telling us that an energy-based economy drastically rises and falls, and yet we still don’t have a savings account that appreciates that fact,” said Republican Sen. David Holt. “Though addressing the short-term crisis is important, we should also move forward on long-term reforms like this while the lessons are fresh, or we’ll simply find ourselves in this predicament again. Now that we know our actual state budget is in excess of $24 billion, we should act to create a Rainy Day Fund that is up to the task. Our current Rainy Day Fund gives a false sense of security by measuring itself against an artificial number that is less than a quarter of the state’s actual spending. No responsible citizen would run their household this way, and neither should we.”

His statements come after the state announced a $900 million budget deficit, which it blames on low oil prices.

Holt has introduced Senate Joint Resolution 44, which would ask the people of Oklahoma to set the cap on the state’s Rainy Day Fund at 15 percent of the total state budget.

Currently, the Rainy Day Fund’s 15 percent cap is measured against the the “general revenue fund certification,” which is just $5.6 billion. However, he says the state actually spends $24 billion, so the current Rainy Day cap is less than a quarter of the dollar amount actually spent by the state.

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