Oklahoma leaders weigh in on ‘Vision Fund’ state question

OKLAHOMA CITY – As voters head to the polls, they will decide the fate of State Question 800, known as the Vision Fund.

Starting in 2020, if passed, the Vision Fund would take 5 percent of the gross production tax and invest it. The amount put back would increase by .2 percent each year.

Advocates say the investments would help.

“They help stabilize these ups and downs and actually provide more revenue for us going forward, long term,” said Dr. Jennifer Lepard with the State Chamber of Oklahoma.

Lepard says SQ 800 could fix the state’s financial woes and stabilize the economy.

“If we were to have done this in the year 1990, we'd have enough money to give every teacher in the state a 2,500-dollar pay raise and fill the budget hole last year and never raise taxes,” said Lepard.

Speaking of teachers, the GPT plays a big role in education.

“We made a great first step with the legislature this year. But it was a first step,” said Dr. Joe Siano with the State School Board Association. “We kind of think the Vision Fund at this time is a step backwards.”

Siano says the state already has two rainy day funds and it doesn’t need another.

“In the end, every school will be affected by the movement of GPT to where it currently is as a dedicated revenue stream to this new fund,” said Siano.

News 4 also reached out to an economics professor who told us the Vision Fund comes with a risk.

“It doesn't mean you have stable income, it means that the income you`re talking about is very much dependent on movement in whatever investments have been chosen,” said Professor Jonathan Willner with Oklahoma City University. “That would be great, assuming there was no market crash and you wind up having to withdraw more than is actually available.”