State Sen. David Holt has introduced legislation to set the cap on the state’s Rainy Day Fund at 15 percent of the total state budget, rather than the much smaller general revenue fund certification number.
"Our state's Rainy Day Fund is 15 percent of about $5 billion. But our total state budget is about $24 billion,” Holt said. “So it's no wonder it's inadequate."
The Oklahoma City Republican says while the bill doesn’t fix the state’s short-term budget crisis, he believes long-term planning is necessary to avoid a similar revenue failure in the future.
“We also have to jump on these lessons while they are fresh,” Holt said. “And I think one of the lessons we’re learning here is that we’ve had a hundred years of an energy-based economy. We know that the energy industry rises and falls, and yet we don’t have a savings account that appreciates that fact.”
Holt also says he supports budget-only legislative sessions to devote more time into thinking solely about the state’s financial situation. Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman has authored a bill to allow lawmakers to consider the budget every legislative session, but only deal with statutory changes every other year.
“As long as we still consider thousands of statutory changes each year, we are not giving adequate time to the budget process. The results speak for themselves,” Holt said in a statement. “We can be a lot better at seeing around corners, but we have to dedicate the appropriate time to the task.”
If lawmakers approve both proposed amendments to the state Constitution, they could go to a vote of the people this fall.