This question adjusts the amount of state funds that can be put in the Constitutional Reserve Fund also known as the Rainy Day Fund.
This measure amends the State Constitution. It amends Section 23 of Article 10. It increases the amount of surplus revenue which goes into a special fund. That fund is the Constitutional Reserve Fund. The amount would go from 10% to 15% of the funds certified as going to the General Revenue fund for the preceding fiscal year.
While I support the need to have a savings account for the state in order to have funds available for emergencies, I feel that our current cap of 10% is sufficient. By increasing the amount the state can put away for the future, it decreases the amount the state is required to give back to the tax payer in times of excess.
I feel that the any beyond the current limit of 10% should be returned to the people of Oklahoma.
State Question 754 would limit the legislature in how they make appropriations in the budget and is in direct conflict with SQ 744. The language is as follows:
This measure adds a new section to the Oklahoma Constitution. It adds Section 55A to Article 5. The Legislature designates amounts of money to be used for certain functions. These designations are called appropriations. The measure deals with the appropriation process. The measure limits how the Constitution could control that process. Under the measure the Constitution could not require the Legislature to fund state functions based on:
1. Predetermined constitutional formulas,
2. How much other states spend on a function,
3. How much any entity spends on a function.
Under the measure these limits on the Constitution’s power to control appropriations would apply even if:
1. A later constitutional amendment changed the Constitution, or
2. A constitutional amendment to the contrary was passed at the same time as this measure.
Thus, under the measure, once adopted, the measure could not be effectively amended. Nor could it be repealed.
Under this question the state cannot make budget appropriations based on formulas that determine how much money other states and entities spend their money. This conflicts with SQ 744 in that SQ 744 would base common education spending on the average spent in neighboring states. If both were to pass, SQ 754 is written to supersede SQ 744.
I feel strongly that any budget appropriations should be based on need and available spending. We should not be basing spending on influences outside the control of the state government.
UPDATE – I have given some more thought to this question. I have decided that I do not like the language of the second half of the question that would prevent further legislation or amendments from superseding this question. I think there may be times when a formula can be used to best meet the needs of an agency or project. This would also prevent the state government from implementing formula based pay for state offices such as paying state legislators based on the average income of the people of the state.
Considering these things, I have decided that I will be voting against this question.
Vote No on SQ 754