OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Del City, filed legislation for the upcoming 58th Legislative Session to change the way Oklahoma calculates how much money the state government saves in the state’s Rainy Day Fund.
House Joint Resolution 1001 would overhaul the calculation for the Rainy Day Fund reserve by switching the basis from general revenue appropriations to include all state spending.
“The current system calculates our state’s emergency savings on just one-third of all of our state spending,” Fugate said. “That’s because it’s focused on our appropriations budget. The reality is the Legislature only appropriates about 1/3rd of what our state actually spends. The current calculation ignores federal dollars, directly appropriated dollars, and fee/license dollars.
“That’s like basing your own family’s emergency savings on your family’s non-essential spending. You can’t ignore your mortgage/rent, utilities, transportation, and insurance.”
The Del City legislator hopes the pandemic and recent memories of the 2016 budget failure will push his colleagues to act on this measure.
“Just a decade ago we bumped up the percentage we use to determine the state’s Rainy Day Fund cap,” Fugate said. “We went from 10% to 15%. That was a superficial fix. It was really nothing more than a bandaid. In 2016, when we had a revenue failure, we realized the bandaid wasn’t enough to handle the bleeding.”
Fugate worries that saving for a rainy day by only accounting for a fraction of state spending puts Oklahoma at risk of not being prepared when we need it.
“It’s time to fix this problem once and for all,” Fugate said. “HJR1001 makes a simple change. Instead of using a small portion of our spending for the calculation, simply include all state spending in the calculation.”