Following Tuesday's announcement of further state revenue shortfalls, State Sen. Randy Brogdon believes across-the-board funding cuts could have been avoided with better leadership and responsible prioritized budgeting during the 2009 session.
"Once again our state agencies are facing across-the-board cuts because the Governor didn't lead in prioritizing spending during the session. Rather than making responsible budget decisions, he accepted federal stimulus money creating further debt by growing the bureaucracy,” said Brogdon. “Out of control federal and state spending are creating generational debt for our children and putting Oklahoma jobs and business in danger."
“Governor Henry praised the federal stimulus package saying it would help our state, but it's only put us in further financial trouble because the feds dictate how that money can be spent,” continued Brogdon. “The Governor failed to make tough decisions this year and now only three months after session adjourned, we are feeling the effects of his lack of leadership. A special session to raid the Rainy Day Fund is now being discussed so even more taxpayer dollars can be spent.”
Brogdon pointed out that rather than focusing on priorities such as the protection of life, liberty and property, the Governor allowed the legislature to spend on such things as:
$15,000,000 on Embryonic Stem Cell Research
$450,000 to the Oklahoma Arts Council in additional appropriations
$8,000,000 for museums
$600,000 for the Oklahoma Film and Music Commission
The Owasso Republican said that “if the elected leaders would have cut out this kind of unnecessary spending in such a tight budget year and focused more on priorities, Oklahomans would be much better off.”
"Agencies may be forced to start furloughing or cutting their staffs because of the poor budget and spending decisions. We can't afford to continue to make these kinds of mistakes in the future," said Brogdon. "Next session, we must prioritize spending, cut out all of the waste and focus on ways to improve state budgeting. We must protect our jobs and business by growing the economy, not by expanding the state budget.”