State should use excess revenue to pay down debt

Published: May 14, 2012
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Regarding “Some tax cut food for thought” (ScissorTales, May 5): If Oklahoma has enough excess revenue for a tax cut, shouldn't we use those funds to pay our debts first? The state has approximately $2 billion in debt. Much of this is the result of the Legislature failing to ensure that public pension funds are fully funded. In fact, when Gov. Mary Fallin recently went to Wall Street to improve Oklahoma's bond rating, she was told that the pension funds' debts were the biggest problem in achieving that goal.

Why not take steps this session toward making our public pension funds whole? One year's contribution won't eliminate all the debt, but it would be a step to resolve that problem, one the Legislature has chosen to kick down the road to some future Legislature. Taking this action to reduce our debt could improve the state's bond rating. And an improved bond rating would result in the state saving money when it does borrow.

Instead of weeping crocodile tears over our pension fund debt and doing nothing, we can take action now like any sensible family would and begin paying off those debts. This would give the state a stronger financial base and remove an impediment to a more secure financial future for all Oklahomans.

Jim McGoodwin, Edmond