Oklahoma's Fiscal Crisis: How We Got Here
OKLAHOMA CITY - The state’s financial crisis is due to miscalculations by lawmakers years ago, according to an OU Professor of Political Science.
Keith Gaddie blames two actions taken by lawmakers in 2014 for the budget shortfall.
The first, according to him, was a continuing income tax cut that lawmakers couldn't put the brakes on. “There was a flaw in the design of the trigger. What happened is that flaw kept triggering automated tax cuts even when revenue was failing,” said Dr. Gaddie.
In 2014, lawmakers also passed legislation to lower the gross production tax on new wells from 7% to 2% at a time when energy prices were going down.
Creating new revenue is another challenge because raising taxes requires three-quarters majority at the Capitol or a vote of the people.
That's due to State Question 640 that was passed by voters in 1992 to make it harder for lawmakers to raise taxes.
Last year, The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled a fee on tobacco was unconstitutional because it was not passed with three-quarter majority at the Capitol.
That amounted to around $200 million lawmakers don’t have to close the budget gap.
Gaddie says right now, Democrats don't have a lot incentive to cooperate with Republicans.
He says since this is an election year they have every incentive to have Republicans own these tax cuts and Oklahoma’s current fiscal crisis.