House Passes Bill To Create State Budget Savings Account

May 23, 2016

Every year, state officials earmark some oil and gas revenue for state agency accounts, and deposit the rest into the General Revenue Fund. But there could be a new option if lawmakers create a savings account for the state budget.

State Rep. John Michael Montgomery, R-Lawton, wants to save some of those energy dollars by forcing the state to analyze the past five years of gross production tax revenue, find the average, and save any money that comes in over the average, The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt reports:

The legislation would not affect apportionments, which is money that is taken off the top of revenues before money can be deposited into the general revenue fund.

Money from the budget stabilization could only withdrawn only after declaration of a revenue failure, the term for when projected revenues are expected to fall more than 5 percent below the original estimate.

For example, if the state averages $100 million in oil taxes this year, then state brings in $150 million, the extra $50 million would go into savings. Montgomery’s does the same for the corporate income tax, but one-fourth of the extra revenue would be sent to the Rainy Day Fund. Montgomery’s bill now awaits a final hearing in the Senate, according to Denwalt:

State Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, said saving money is as important as spending it.

“We’ll be thankful to have put a little away, more than we have been, in future years,” said Holt, who is a co-author on the measure. “This could not have happened in any other year other than this one, when people here in the building are understanding how important it is to save better.”

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