The Norman Transcript

Government

June 4, 2013

Gov. signs measure to limit state bond debt

NORMAN — House Speaker T.W. Shannon and Sen. Josh Brecheen’s measure to limit bond indebtedness has been signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin.

House Bill 2195 limits debt service payments or how much of the General Revenue Fund can be used toward paying off bonds. The measure places the payment cap at 5 percent of the GRF.

By doing so, this would make it tougher for the state to secure bonds when interest rates are high.

“In Oklahoma, we cannot lose sight of our core conservative principles,” said Speaker Shannon, R-Lawton. “We have seen what the spending addiction that afflicts Washington, D.C., has done to our country.

“This measure is a commitment to the people of our great state and future generations that this legislature will uphold the value of fiscal responsibility. This office will not be responsible for endangering the future prosperity of Oklahomans through reckless spending and mounting debt.”

“This year, Oklahoma taxpayers will spend more than $80 million to retire interest payments as owed to pay down our approximately $1.6 billion tax-supported state bond indebtedness.” said Sen. Brecheen, R-Atoka. “Not a penny of that amount will go to retire principle, and that is a real loss for all Oklahomans when contemplating what that money could have done if available for use elsewhere.

“The thinking of our time would have us believe this is normal and encourage greater borrowing like other states, yet with this bill we’re signaling we reject this ‘debt is wealth’ mentality, ensuring Oklahoma’s debt to revenue ratio remains one of the lowest in the country.”

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