A Democratic Senator will file a pair of bills that will bring greater financial responsibility to state government. State Senator Kenneth Corn said the measures will be considered when session begins on February 6, 2006.
“I believe Oklahomans want policies that promote responsibility and accountability and the measures I will file certainly offer that,” Corn said. “We have a moral obligation to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars so that we can create a better tomorrow for Oklahoma’s children.”
Corn said the first measure, known as the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Stabilization Act, will require the Oklahoma Tax Commission to submit a 10-year average of gross production revenue to the State Board of Equalization. The new law would direct the State Board of Equalization to certify only the 10-year average for reoccurring budget expenditures and any revenue above that average would only be available for one time expenditures, such as road and bridge projects and capital improvements.
“In the 1980’s we saw first hand that gross production revenue can certainly paint a false picture for budget framers,” Corn said. “Because Oklahoma is an energy producing state, we are experiencing greater than normal revenue projections similar to the 80’s and I certainly do not want to create a budget crisis like we saw back then. The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Stabilization Act would prevent lawmakers from appropriating revenue that might not be there if the energy sector were to suddenly collapse.”
He said the second measure, the Performance Accountability Act, would require state agencies to conduct performance audits every four years in order to build on efficiencies within agencies and identify any duplication of services throughout state government.
“State agencies in Oklahoma provide critical services upon which all Oklahomans depend, such as affordable health care, senior nutrition programs and access to quality education,” Corn said. “We need a process that will ensure these services are being delivered to tax payers in the most efficient manner possible and the Performance Accountability Act will allow that process to happen.”
Corn concluded by saying he believes both measures will have wide support in both chambers and expects the legislation to easily pass through the legislative process.