The Norman Transcript

Editorials

May 6, 2014

A possible wake-up call

NORMAN — Oklahoma’s treasurer Ken Miller, a former legislator with a doctorate in economics, is something of a realist when it comes to state finances. He usually calls them as he sees them.

As a Republican legislator from Edmond, Miller chaired the House appropriations and budget committee for three years. His assessment of the state’s fiscal condition comes from experience.

Dr. Miller this week warned state policymakers that their actions could cause a potential downgrade of the state’s bond rating.

Even though gross receipts to the state are inching up, the state’s significant pension debt, the use of one-time funds for operational costs and the reduction in taxes without offsetting cuts in state spending could ultimately lead to a reduction in Oklahoma’s bond rating, he told the Associated Press.

All of this comes as lawmakers passed and the governor signed a reduction in the state’s income tax rate. Moody’s Investor Service reduced Kansas’ bond rating for doing some of the same things that are happening in Oklahoma.

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