As we know, Oklahoma is an oil and gas state and many of our businesses are still closely tied to the energy industry. When Oil & Gas is booming, state revenues grow dramatically and when this industry struggles, state revenues also struggle.
The following chart shows the crash in oil & gas from 2014-2017 which was one of the worst in state history. It also shows that our state has enjoyed a record recovery beginning in 2017 resulting in our state’s constitutional Rainy-Day fund growing to the largest in state history at $1 billion. This fund is used to help pay for core services when an economic downturn occurs, and for those of us who have lived in Oklahoma for any length of time….. we know that downturns are a fact of life.
Just like we have a choice in our personal households, our state has a choice whether to grow government by spending extra income during the good times or to save. Currently, the annual amount that can be put in the Rainy-Day fund during the good times is capped by our Oklahoma Constitution and raising this cap requires a vote of the people.
I believe it is prudent to save during the good times and will support legislation that allows the voters to raise the cap on the Rainy-Day fund so that we are prepared for the next downturn in the economy.