OK State Auditor: Across The Board Budget Cuts A Bad Idea

Friday, March 4th 2016, 2:57 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

For the second time this year the state is cutting the budgets of all agencies, likely leading to a reduction of some services and job cuts. The State auditor says that’s a poor decision. 

“Yeah I’m frustrated,” State Auditor Gary Jones said, “I’m an accountant. I’m a numbers guy. And there are agencies out there that can absorb those cuts. There are agencies out there that can absorb bigger cuts. And then there are others, a lot of schools that are really suffering.”

Jones said the state should have targeted the agencies that could afford the cuts. The problem is, Jones said, the budget process is broken. 

“The last week of session there’s a white puff of smoke that comes out of session and all of the sudden they say we have a budget. It’s an omnibus budget similar to what they do in the federal government and then it’s take it or leave it,” said Jones.

“They can’t make any changes or whatever. It’s whatever a small handful of people behind closed doors decide and that’s the way it’s gonna be. That’s not the way to run a business and that’s not a way to run a government either,” he continued.

Jones said Oklahomans would be appalled to find out how much waste there is in state government. 

“There’s agencies that have two and three public relations people. My public relations person is me. We don’t have a chief of staff, that’s me,” said Jones.

To get on track, Jones said lawmakers have to scrap the politics of tax cuts without matching spending cuts, and put in place a long term plan. He said right now the state government is living paycheck to paycheck. 

“We have a lack of long term vision of a long term plan. We make decisions year to year in some cases we’re making them month to month. I mean we need a long term plan and a long term vision.”