Group Warns Of State Budget Deficit

Wednesday, December 5th 2007, 6:12 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A public policy analyst says a more efficient state government will become more important as tax cuts and other factors create deficits in state revenue. David Blatt of Tulsa's Community Action Project told state lawmakers Tuesday that tax cuts and exemptions and an aging population will result in resources that are inadequate to meet state government's needs in the next few years.

Blatt conceded there's currently little support for tax increases.

Oklahoma's maximum income tax rate has been reduced from 6.65 % over the past several years and will eventually reach 5.25 % if state revenue meets a growth trigger.

Blatt says eventually, Oklahoma will have to increase income tax revenue by 40 % or cut state support for public schools by 40 % to balance the state budget.

Blatt spoke at a meeting where state lawmakers explored ways to spend state tax dollars more efficiently, including proposals to consolidate state agencies and their functions.