The full Senate on Wednesday advanced legislation that could result in state spending receiving greater scrutiny than ever before. Authored by Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, Senate Joint Resolution 30 would send to a vote of the people a proposal to dedicate every other legislative year to crafting the states budget.
Bingman said that in light of the $611 million shortfall currently faced by the state, the time has come for reform that will enable the Legislature to examine state expenditures from top to bottom.
Fiscal conservatives should welcome this reform, and the opportunity it will give us to examine our budget, identify savings and be more efficient, said Bingman, R-Sapulpa. As advocates of limited government, we should also welcome the opportunity to cut back on legislation and allow for more time to consider ideas. The budget is arguably our most important responsibility, and this reform would bring greater transparency to the process and more scrutiny to state spending at all levels.
If SJR 30 is approved by voters, the Legislature would draft a budget every year and take up policy proposals in odd-numbered years. Policy measures could be considered in budget years with the approval of two-thirds of members in both houses of the Legislature.
This proposal would not only allow all lawmakers to take a closer look at our spending, it will also ensure that the laws we do pass will receive more deliberation and thought, Bingman said. In addition, it will result in fewer laws that extend the influence of government further into the lives of Oklahomans.
SJR 30 now advances to the House for consideration.