Healthy Oklahoma Christmas shopping season boosts state's revenues

Oklahoma's economy continued to grow in December, but at a slower pace, state treasurer says.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: January 3, 2013
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Miller, an economist, said he has mixed reactions about the “fiscal cliff” deal reached earlier this week by Congress and the president.

“The good news is that 98 percent of Americans will avoid a tax increase and the (President George W.) Bush tax cuts were made permanent, providing needed certainty to families and small businesses,” Miller said. “Quite obviously, that's good news for the Oklahoma economy as it is never advisable to raise taxes during a recession or weak recovery. Oklahoma's recovery has been stronger than in most other states, but we need our country to do well so we can continue our economic gains.”

But the treasurer said the deal did nothing to address Washington's overspending.

“During the coming months, policymakers must be cognizant of the near-term weak recovery but must finally get serious and implement a long-term solution that safeguards the economic and national security interests of our country,” he said.

Miller said the biggest problem with spending cuts that would be started in two months if no further agreement is reached is that they disregard entitlements.

“Unfortunately with sequestration, the cuts are heavily weighted toward military spending when the real problem, entitlement spending, is largely ignored,” he said. “A strong defense is critical to our nation's security and our state's economy.”

Studies show Oklahoma, which has five military installations, could lose up to 20,000 jobs, including 4,000 military positions, if sequestration is triggered, he said.

“That would be very tough for Oklahoma to handle,” Miller said. “It would be very tough for the military communities and the families in those communities if they enact these across-the-board cuts rather than the strategic cuts.”