Brogdon says State should cut budget and cut strings to Washington D.C.

Three of the four gubernatorial candidates said new jobs are needed to boost state revenues while the fourth contender believes state spending should be cut.


Oklahoma is facing a nearly $730 million revenue failure by the end of this fiscal year, although across-the-board funding cuts to agencies have reduced the amount to about $530 million. Lt. Gov. Jari Askins, who with Democratic challenger Attorney General Drew Edmondson and Republican Mary Fallin advocates recruiting new businesses and helping existing state employers, also suggests the state needs a more accurate way to predict revenue.

Edmondson said the state is poised to attract new jobs in the areas of medical research, aerospace and aviation, and natural gas and wind energy.

Edmondson said he also supports a close scrutiny of state agency spending and "making sure we’ve wrung every dollar out of the agencies that can be wrung without impacting more dramatically on services on the street level.”

Positions on the top levels of administration should be on the chopping block first before employees who provide agency services, he said.

Edmonson said he would use the line-item veto and make "surgical cuts” to eliminate waste and duplication of services.

State Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso, said state spending needs to be corralled. In 2005 he supported a measure that would have limited the increase of government spending to the same growth rate as the private sector. The so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights measure failed to get enough signatures to get on a ballot for voters to decide.

"Had my policies been put in place with the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, we would not be experiencing today being overdrawn in our checking account,” Brogdon said. "But because we continue to overspend, we continue to grow government, we continue to have a lack of priority spending within state government, we’re going to be faced with this again next year if the governor and this Legislature decides to borrow money from the stimulus and to raid our Rainy Day Fund.”

Brogdon said he is concerned state spending has increased 38 percent since 2005 while spending in the private sector grew 10 percent.

"We had state government growing four times faster than the private sector is growing and that coupled with the national recession has caught up with us,” he said.

Fallin, a congresswoman from Oklahoma City, said she would serve as the state’s "business recruiter in chief.”

"The governor should be the person on the front line, to be out there talking to Oklahoma businesses seeing what hurts their business, what helps their business, what we can do to eliminate the bureaucratic red tape, what types of incentives would encourage them to invest money back into Oklahoma to create more jobs,” she said.

Fallin said the worst thing a state could do is increase taxes on businesses during an economic downturn.

"Where those states have been increasing taxes, I’d be out there as the governor trying to recruit their business back to Oklahoma,” Fallin said.

Askins said the state needs to look at its method used in determining revenue estimates. The state Tax Commission uses economic formulas and the Board of Equalization, made up of several state officials charged with approving how much money legislators can spend each session, usually has no choice but to accept the findings.

"Perhaps we should inquire or explore other methodologies used by other states,” Askins said.

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