Oklahoma's new fiscal year is off to a good start, posting $55 million in growth during the first quarter, according to the latest revenue report from the Office of State Finance. That's a good sign for the Oklahoma economy and state policy makers, according to a Senate budget leader.
"It's just one more sign that the economic policies we enacted in the wake of the oil bust are working. In fact, they're not only working, they're doing better than anyone ever expected," said Senator Kelly Haney, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
"We didn't stumble upon all these economic successes by accident. After the oil bust, we enacted a comprehensive growth program, emphasizing education, targeted economic development incentives and improved roads and highways. Our investments and hard work are paying off."
According to the latest OSF report, revenue collections increased by $55.8 million during the first quarter, a 6.1 percent increase over the same period last year and about three-percent above the estimate.
In announcing the new revenue numbers today, Governor Keating's finance adviser Tom Daxon suggested the strategy of investing in education and other state initiatives should be curtailed, saying growth revenue shouldn't be used to "grow government."
"When we invest in our public schools and our roads, the Governor and Mr. Daxon say we're growing government. I don't think we can ever go wrong by investing in Oklahoma's education system and its infrastructure, but apparently Governor Keating and his advisers disagree," said Senator Haney.
"I really don't put too much stock in the suggestions of Mr. Daxon anyway. He's the same person who predicted an economic crash and a $100 million shortfall last year, but instead our economy generated a record surplus. His batting average hasn't been very impressive in the prediction department so you have to take all his forecasts and suggestions with a grain of salt."