Brian Bush: Oklahoma’s political class still has a spending problem

BY BRIAN BUSH Modified: May 19, 2013 at 10:08 am •  Published: May 19, 2013
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The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs has identified hundreds of millions in savings that could be gained by cutting wasteful spending in various areas, reforming state employees’ health insurance structure, and focusing on core services.

But even our core services shoulder some of the blame for an unnecessary increase in spending. A blanket hike in education spending is sought each year; this year it resulted in an additional $91 million. Yet this money isn’t tied to any expected outcomes. Despite essentially tripling state school spending in just over two decades, Oklahoma’s average ACT score remains roughly the same as it was in 1990. This is likely influenced by the fact that only 55 percent of the money spent on education actually makes it to the classroom to be spent on instruction.

By cutting out wasteful spending, by keeping a close eye on even the items we consider core services and by enacting proven reforms, Oklahoma’s budget could be cut significantly.

Bush is executive vice president at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs ( www.ocpathink.org).

Even this group of reform-minded conservatives still needs to be encouraged to curb the spending.