OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Brad Henry is going to ask the legislature to help Oklahoma cope with another fiscal crisis by expanding Oklahoma's Rainy Day Fund.
Henry wants lawmakers to raise the account's constitutional limit from 10 to 15 percent of general revenue receipts. That way Oklahoma will have a larger reserve fund to fall back on.
"Oklahoma voters did the right thing when they established a rainy day account back in 1985, but unfortunately, a cap on the fund prevents Oklahoma from saving enough money for the kind of emergency we are facing today," said Gov. Henry. "Now more than ever, it's time to expand the account and put more dollars away for future rainy days. You can never go wrong by depositing more money in your savings account."
He made the same proposal in 2006, but lawmakers voted it down. The governor said if it would have passed, there would be $900 million in the fund instead of $600 million.
With the state now experiencing a historic budget crisis and reserve funds in high demand, Gov. Henry said in a press conference, he hopes his idea is more popular this year.
"If we had taken the action I advocated back in 2006, we would have more money in our savings account to respond to today's crisis. It would not solve all of our problems, but it would give us more room to maneuver as we balance the budget and attempt to protect core services," he said.
Because the proposed change would alter the Oklahoma Constitution, the governor's proposal must be approved by both the legislature and Oklahoma voters.