Gann, Rick West Call for Constitutional Amendment to Budget Process
OKLAHOMA CITY – In reaction to this year's nearly $13 billion general appropriations' bill, State Reps. Tom Gann, R-Inola, and Rick West, R-Heavener, have proposed capping future legislative appropriations, retaining only what is necessary to be responsible in savings for a rainy day and sending back to the taxpayer any excess funds. “We are fiduciaries of tax payer dollars not investment advisors," Gann said. "Regrettably, lawmakers have demonstrated repeatedly through massive spending increases over recent years that they are unable to resist the temptation. It's time for the people of Oklahoma to intervene with the Legislature." West expressed his disappointment that Oklahoma's rampant spending has caught national attention. "These actions do not reflect the values of Oklahomans," West said. "We are a conservative people who believe in the wisdom of limited government and controlled spending. What we are witnessing now is unrestrained spending that will prove destructive as the economy cycles into the next downturn. These are the values of California or New York – not Oklahoma!" West further noted that the extensive spending is particularly terrible during a period when many Oklahomans are grappling with inflation driven by government spending. "While numerous Oklahoma families are forced to tighten their belts, Oklahoma lawmakers have the audacity to insist on significant increases in their own budgets." Gann further warned, "In the event of the next economic downturn, revenues will decline while the Legislature's extravagant spending persists. This means not only will there be no meaningful tax reduction, but there will be tremendous pressure on the Legislature to revert to the days of tax hikes to avoid reducing their new spending levels." HJR1001X is available for consideration during the current legislative special session. If successful, the people of Oklahoma would be able to vote on the plan next year.