McNichol: Oklahoma Falls Far Short in Long-Term Budget Planning
Oklahoma tied for last (with South Dakota) in our recent report on how well states factor long-term issues into their budget decisions, CBPP Senior Fellow Elizabeth McNichol and the Oklahoma Policy Institute’s Gene Perry write in an op-ed for The Oklahoman. The excerpt below outlines one way that Oklahomans can improve their budget process:
Better revenue forecasting is one place to start. Oklahoma lacks a formal mechanism to create consensus among the executive and legislative branches on a revenue forecast. Over half the states use an estimating process that brings together the expertise of both branches of government, and often academic and private economists, to agree on a revenue forecast.
In Oklahoma, the responsibility for the state’s revenue estimate rests almost entirely with one economist at Oklahoma State University. Granted, the economist is one of the foremost experts on Oklahoma taxes. But given the many variables that affect this important forecast, two — or even three or four — heads are surely better than one.
Our report details how states can improve their budget processes and ranks states on their use of ten proven, common-sense budget tools.