The State of Oklahoma's Dire Budget Crisis
Tulsa, Oklahoma – On this edition of our show, we're discussing the state's very serious budget crisis. Our guest is David Blatt, director of policy at the non-partisan Oklahoma Policy Institute. His organization has closely tracked this crisis, and has offered several proposals to help our state navigate it. (More about Blatt's organization, and its plans and programs, can be found at okpolicy.org.) Recently, the Oklahoma State Treasurer announced that collections by the general revenue fund in December 2009 totaled $402.3 million --- that's 29.1 percent below the prior year's collections. It's also 30.7 percent below the official state estimate. More than 45 of the 50 states in the union are currently dealing with budget shortfalls --- and Oklahoma, as many of us well know already, is a state that's no longer "trimming the fat" but rather, at this point, is "cutting into bone." What's next for the state? What solutions, if any, have been put forth thus far? Will the state's "rainy day fund" be enough to bail us out? Blatt and our host Rich Fisher talk about such matters.