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Thread: oklahoma state rainy day fund

  1. #1

    Default oklahoma state rainy day fund

    The state has a rainy day fund that currently retains a balance of around 600 million correct me if I am wrong allocations to the fund that can be appropriated by the legislature is 25%. Our state capital needs substantial repairs estimated at 200 million that number will only increase as time goes by and nothing is done. Wouldn't it be in the states best financial interest to bite the bullet and get the capital restoration underway and completed.

    I propose that the state legislature allocate what they legally can from the rainy day fund to the capital restoration and allocate the remainder needed out of the next fiscal years budget or from the rainy day fund again. This will in the end save taxpayers millions on capital buildings we all know will have to be done in the next 5 years or so. I figure that the restoration will take more than a year allowing the state to spread the cost over 2 budget years. I believe that the rainy day fund would be replinished of the money in 3 years time and leave us with no less than 400 million at any given time during the restoration.

    The state could also in future years use this method of funding for stalled projects like the Indian arts center that are smaller and cost less than what is deposited yearly into the rainy day fund.

    When responding just remember this is a state issue not an Okc unless the city sees fit to help supplement state funding for its own interests.

    I am interested in thoughts or other ideas to get our capital restored sooner rather than later the longer its shelved the more expensive it will become

  2. #2

    Default Re: oklahoma state rainy day fund

    I like the idea of using as much as we can with the rainy day fund to repair the capitol and then sell bonds to make up the rest. The sad thing with our current uber conservative legislature is that borrowing money or selling bonds is totally off limits because debt is the devil...or something like that. Fact is, borrowing money right now is super cheap, its about as free as you can get. Now is the time we should be doing these projects while interest rates are really low.

  3. #3

    Default Re: oklahoma state rainy day fund

    we have the exact state government leadership the majority asked for.
    The rest of us are not all that amused by their choices.

  4. #4

    Default Re: oklahoma state rainy day fund

    Have to remember that the Rainy Day Fund was just recently refilled to that amount. They had depleted it to almost nothing over the last couple of years when we went through our version of the recession to fill the holes in the budget. I am not saying that the repairs aren't needed or that they don't qualify as becoming emergency status (if they already aren't). I also agree with the concept of paying cash if you can instead of using long term bond debt that will cost multi-millions in interest.

    Have to be careful as to where/when/how you use that fund. Over the years many called for dipping into the fund for one project or another and Gov. Henry wisely refrained from doing so. If they had done it, there wouldn't have been a Rainy Day Fund to use when it was needed.

    I have said it before, but I think a much better method would be for the State to enact a MAPS style half cent or 1 cent sales tax. I am even ok with it being permanent even IF the voters had to approve any projects that it would be spent on. Don't allow it to be a blank check, it would have to be for very specific projects, not just generic "capital improvements". If voters don't approve the project, the money sits there unspent collecting interest until they come up with projects that the voters will approve. OKC supposedly collected something around $50 million in interest during the original MAPS due to the delays on other projects. OKC is projecting to collect an avg of $100 million/yr just from the taxes being collected in the OKC city limits. Expand that statewide and you can very quickly raise themoney for the Repairs, completing the AICC, construct the Tulsa Pop Culture museum etc etc etc.

  5. #5

    Default Re: oklahoma state rainy day fund

    Not gonna happen. The majority of the current occupants of the 4th floor at the Capitol would not vote for it because it is a tax increase. Doesn't matter that it would be a temp increase. Doesn't matter that it would save tax payer funds compared to going the bond route.

  6. #6

    Default Re: oklahoma state rainy day fund

    All we would need is a 1/4 percent state sales tax for a state wide maps project set it up just.like maps run it for 3 to 5 years and outlay the money to rehabilitate state buildings across the state in need of extensive repair such as the capital complex. We could have half of that tax go towards repairing poor bridges under the states responsibility as well to accelerate the rehad of of our states crappy bridges. Not sure if the state taxes natural gas for vehicles but if not we could tax that as well at maybe half the rate we tax gasoline

    I wonder when states will get the bright idea of issueing permits for trucks that travel states roads something like $100 a year that is dedicated to repair and improvements to state highways. Figure something like this would be required on trucks that are tagged outside said state since registrations costs have a certain amount allocated to transportation already.

  7. Default Re: oklahoma state rainy day fund

    That rainy day fund is what kept the state from going totally bankrupt back in the 2004 area. When the state had a budget crisis and was laying off employees left and right and schools were forced to do the same because of shortfalls, that fund kept the state's head above water. Had it not been there, who knows, we might have ended up like California.

    People look at it all the time and think, why don't we use that pile of money and refill it later? Well, because it takes time to refill it and if some bad crap happens in the mean time, then we get screwed. It's just like having a savings account. If you spend it on a new TV and think you'll fill it later, you're also assuring that your AC is going to go out and you'll have to put it on your credit card and then pay interest.

    That's a bit of a stretch for an analogy, but I think the point is still made. It's a rainy day fund beacuse that's just what it is. While we shouldn't see it filled to billions upon billions of dollars, we do need to make sure it's used for emergency situations. And as much as I agree that we need to repair the capital, i don't feel that it qualifies. I thought that the legislature had come to an agreement with the governor on repair efforts though.

  8. #8

    Default Re: oklahoma state rainy day fund

    Quote Originally Posted by kevinpate View Post
    Not gonna happen. The majority of the current occupants of the 4th floor at the Capitol would not vote for it because it is a tax increase. Doesn't matter that it would be a temp increase. Doesn't matter that it would save tax payer funds compared to going the bond route.
    I agree. They would give it a name like State Area Projects and run a campaign of just say no to SAPS. Capitol projects are not the only thing that has been neglected. Incredibly, State workers have received only one pay raise this century. I don't think that there has even been a consideration of a pay raise recently despite the record amounts of revenue.

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