Blatt of OK Policy says state spending is low in relation to size of Oklahoma economy

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Published 01-Mar-2011

The Oklahoma Policy Institute contends, in a new analysis provided to CapitolBeatOK, that the Sooner State’s appropriated budget, in relation to the size of the state’s economy, has been in long-term decline. The progressive-oriented “think tank” contends this decline has “accelerated sharply in recent years.  2011 marks the lowest percentage of state appropriated spending as a share of personal earnings in thirty years.” 
Oklahoma’s state appropriations are projected to drop this year to a low of 4.8 percent of residents’ personal income, OK Policy concludes.  This is down from a high point of 6.4 percent in 1999 and is below the 30-year average of 5.8 percent. Over the past decade, personal income has increased by 58 percent, more than twice the rate of the state budget, which has grown by just 24 percent. A combination of tax cuts and the recession have contributed to the sharp decline in state spending as a share of state personal income in recent years.
“We hear a lot about how government shouldn’t be allowed to grow faster than the state’s economy,” said David Blatt, OK Policy’s director. “Yet the data reveals that the exact opposite is occurring. As state spending falls and we cut deeper and deeper into state budgets, we may now be at the point where we are no longer able to make the investments needed to educate our students and workforce, keep the public safe, and support the most vulnerable members of our community — children, the elderly and persons with disabilities.” 
The fact sheet used actual data on state personal income from the US Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis through September 2010 and included conservative projections of 1 percent quarterly growth for the remainder of SFY 2011 (October 2010 – June 2011).
Oklahoma Policy Institute is a 501(c)(3) think-tank that provides information, analysis and ideas on state policy issues. The 1-page fact sheet “Oklahoma State Spending As Share of Economy Hits 30-Year Low”, can be viewed and downloaded online here.