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Bills underscore Oklahoma lawmakers' distaste for bond issues

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: February 25, 2013

Bond issues offer the most responsible way to get the work done, because they allow the state to borrow money that it can afford to pay back and to get its hands on the money quickly, at very low interest rates. This is a prudent way to conduct the state's business.

“When you get a credit card, there is a credit limit,” Shannon said in championing his proposal. “We will not force our children to carry the burden of out-of-control debt.”

That's laudable, but Oklahoma doesn't have out-of-control debt (see above). The credit rating agencies say the same when meeting with state leaders every year.

Brecheen's bill would let voters decide whether to cap the state's annual debt service payments at 4.5 percent of the state's average general revenue from the previous five years. The state's bond adviser, Jim Joseph, says such a limit would still allow the state to safely issue $500 million more in bonds.

But then, Joseph has said many times that the state could borrow as much as $300 million for new bond issues without affecting its credit rating. Like the advice from the rating agencies, Joseph's counsel has fallen on deaf ears.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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