OKLAHOMA CITY – A group claiming to be non-partisan revealed how to save Oklahoma taxpayers more money Monday.
However, their solution involves a number of taxpayer-funded organizations and state agencies to be put on the chopping block.
The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs said their budget “trims the fat” while allowing for a tax break for Oklahomans.
The OCPA said almost 2 percent could be cut from the state budget without impacting education or other core government functions.
OETA’s Dan Schiedel said, “If we lost all of our state funding, we would cut most if not all of our local services.”
Schiedel was shocked to hear a recommendation is being made to cut the public broadcasting station out of the state’s budget.
He said, “All of the state dollars we receive go right back in to local programming.”
The recommended cut is part of a budget developed by the non-profit, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.
OCPA’s fiscal policy director Jonathan Small said, “We like to think of our budget as a budget that reflects your family’s budget.”
In their budget, the OCPA recommends cutting all funding to:
- Arts Council
- Oklahoma Insurance Department
- Physician Manpower Training Commission
- Teacher Preparation Commission
- Space Industry Development Authority
- Consumer Credit Commission
- Horse Racing Commission
- J.M. Davis Memorial Commission
- Will Rogers Memorial Commission.
“Lawmakers have spent over $30 million on attempts at space travel,” Small said. “Obviously, that’s not a core function of government.”
Another area of cuts recommended are to state employee health insurance.
The OCPA said changing state coverage to a health savings plan would save millions.
Small said, “We want to see Oklahoma adopt reforms that are patient-centered, that are resulting in better health outcomes and saving tax payers dollars.”
This is not the state approved budget, just a recommendation by this group, but several legislators are backing the plan.
Schidel said he believes, when it comes down to an actual budget, legislators will see value in OETA and other groups that rely on state funding.
Schiedel said, “I think the legislature understands the impact of what OETA provides the state and the people of Oklahoma.”
The OCPA said if state employee insurance plans were reformed, that alone could save more than $75 million a year from our state’s budget.
If you would like to see the full budget they have laid out at: