Governor Mary Fallin has signed an executive proclamation placing the so-called “Oklahoma Vision Fund” on the November 6 general election ballot.
The Oklahoma Vision Fund is sort of like a rainy-day fund to help fund state government during tough times, but the revenue for the fund comes from the oil industry.
The Vision Fund will appear on the November ballot as State Question 800; it adds an amendment to the state constitution allowing the state set aside 5 percent of the oil and gas tax revenue for tough times.
"We set it into a trust fund and you use the earnings from the trust fund to fund government over time, so the idea is it makes it more stable,” said Representative John Montgomery (R) Lawton who authored the companion bill.
Representative Montgomery said the Vision Fund is designed to keep lawmakers from dipping into it for special projects. "We've put additional protections in there to make sure the legislature isn't just borrowing against the fund and things like that.”
Here’s how the numbers break down:
In fiscal year 2018, taxes on oil and natural gas production are expected to bring in $639 dollars. Five percent of that, or $31.95 million would go into the account.
Next fiscal year, oil and natural gas production taxes are expected to bring in $722 million. Five percent of that, or $36.1 million.
"If you look at our dependency on oil it goes up and down up and down,” said Representative Josh West (R) Grove. "If you look at what's been done in North Dakota with it it's saved their state in times when oil when the price of oil drops."
Representative Jason Dunnington (D) Oklahoma City added, "Other energy-based states have already moved in this direction. There is a natural boom and bust cycle in energy so states like ours need to have vision for the future. We need to have a fund like this in place so that when we have boom years as we are coming into right now that we are able to save a little bit."