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Oklahoma's state budgeting system could use more vision

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: March 4, 2012

House Speaker Kris Steele, like Miller, is a voice of reason. The two were rivals in the race to succeed former House Speaker Chris Benge. That was then. Each could benefit from the other's counsel now, but Steele holds the cards. He's running Gov. Mary Fallin's sweeping tax cut bill. We're confident that Steele won't embrace any overreaching, irrevocable tax cut plan.

Early test votes indicate that the tax cut sentiment remains strong. But so does the desire to keep certain tax breaks. Miller himself urges retention of a deduction for contributions to college savings plans.

The way forward? Moderation and caution. In Miller's view, it involves funding essential functions of state government and eliminating the rest. Spending would be based on results and outcomes rather than tweaking the previous year's budget. Ineffective tax credits would die. Nonessential state assets would be “monetized.” These are things that should be done whether or not taxes are cut. They simply make sense.

This springtime, the tools for fiscal management include pruning shears and the axe. Miller says we should use the first on the healthier parts of the tree and the latter for the dead weight. That's good advice in this season of new beginnings.

Is anyone listening?

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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