The Norman Transcript

October 5, 2013

Washington’s gridlockslows state’s rebound


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Oklahoma’s economy continues its recovery but the trickle-down effect of Washington’s donneybrook could stifle it. That’s the word this week from State Treasurer Ken Miller.

Dr. Miller reports that 12-month collections reached a new high of $11.33 billion, up almost $20 million over August’s total. It represents a 3 percent rolling average over the past 12 months. Collections on the production of oil and natural gas were the most improved component of the monthly report, up by more than 31 percent over September of last year.

The impact of the government shut-down remains to be seen. If it lingers, consumer confidence will wane just as shoppers gear up for the holiday season. The federal government, the nation’s largest employer, contributes greatly to the state’s economy, too.

Shared expenses on some core services could be slowed. The bigger question, Dr. Miller writes, is that the failure of Congress to address the debt ceiling could reverse the state’s economic rebound.

“Of even greater concern is the renewed insistence on playing Russian roulette with the nation’s debt ceiling,” he said.

“The global economy is built on the full faith and credit of the United States. If that faith were damaged by default, Oklahoma would suffer from the negative effects on the dollar, interest rates, personal investment, consumption and jobs. Further, the billions of state investment in federal securities could be at risk.”