State Sen. John Ford said he was encouraged by Gov. Brad Henry's announcement that he supported increasing the cap on the state's Rainy Day Fund. Ford originally filed legislation raising the cap from 10 to 15 percent to be heard in the 2007 session, however that measure did not make it into law. This past November he announced he had filed the same proposal with Senate Joint Resolution 47 and would push for its passage in the 2010 legislative session.
"When I first filed this legislation for the 2007 session, the economy was good and there wasn't a lot of interest in raising the cap. Obviously, that's all changed now, and I'm pleased to see the governor has voiced his support for this measure," Ford said. “I’m only sorry there wasn't more support earlier on for this concept."
Ford, the Republican Caucus Chairman and chair of the Senate Education Committee, said if the higher cap had already been in place, Oklahoma would have a much larger cushion to ease the impact of the current budget shortfall. The senator, who represents Craig, Washington and Nowata counties, said once approved by the House and Senate, the measure would then go to a vote of the people.
"We could have had an emergency fund of nearly $900 million, compared to the $600 million in the Rainy Day Fund today," Ford said. "The oil bust of the 1980's taught us the importance of having an emergency savings account. This recession has shown us we need to expand that fund."