KGOU

Doerflinger: 'Not The Time To Freak Out' As Revenue Dips Below Estimate Again

Nov 17, 2016

Oklahoma's top budget official says he's not worrying about a revenue failure… yet.

This time last year, lawmakers were wringing their hands over sales tax figures that painted a dim view of state revenue. That’s when revenue was about 3 percent below the estimate used to build their budget.

As of October, revenue is down about 2 percent. Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger said he’s not too anxious about it and wants to wait until next month’s report, The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt reports:

“I’m not as concerned this year as I obviously was last year,” Doerflinger said. “This is not the time to freak out or be overly concerned about the possibility of revenue failure.”

Deposits into the [General Revenue Fund] have fluctuated wildly this year. In the first quarter alone, revenue has been as high as 31 percent above and as low as 12 percent below the month-by-month estimates.

Doerflinger has been a staunch opponent of one-time spending and wants more recurring revenue put into the budget. That could help prevent another revenue failure like the one declared almost a year ago.

Andy Moore and other supporters of the group Let’s Fix This attended Wednesday’s ceremony. He said he was disappointed to hear the revenue figures.

“I can’t say it’s surprising,” Moore said. “I think we all kind of expected this news to come out; it was just a matter of when and how severe.”

The budget gap speaks to the hard decisions lawmakers face, he said. Moore suggested rolling back the most recent income tax cut and preventing another one.

He also said it’s time to review the constitutional amendment that makes it nearly impossible for lawmakers to raise taxes.

“No one wants to pay any more taxes than we absolutely have to, but when they keep cutting it they obviously can’t cut their way to prosperity,” he said.

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