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State Treasurer Gives Oklahoma Lawmakers 'C' Grade For 2016 Legislative Session

Oklahoma state Treasurer Ken Miller speaks during a news conference n Oklahoma City, Wednesday, July 8, 2015.
Sue Ogrocki
Oklahoma state Treasurer Ken Miller speaks during a news conference n Oklahoma City, Wednesday, July 8, 2015.

State Treasurer Ken Miller gave the 2016 legislative session a grade of “C” in his annual Oklahoma Economic Report out Tuesday.

Miller said lawmakers faced a difficult budget challenge this year as they tried to figure out how to close a $1.3 billion gap. But he says House and Senate members also left an opportunity on the table to make significant structural reforms to Oklahoma’s budgeting process, something Gov. Mary Fallin outlined in her State of the State address earlier this year.

Read State Treasurer Ken Miller's Entire 2016 Oklahoma Economic Report

"Governor Fallin said, 'I can’t help but feel we missed an opportunity to do more to reform our budget process and consolidate agencies.' I concur," Miller wrote.

Miller said legislators made strides in the area of tax credits and deductions, but said the reliance on nonrecurring revenue and one-time funding solutions leaves the 2017 session with a $400 million dollar hole.

"No doubt, during times of economic distress sub-optimal measures – like employing one-times—are sometimes necessary to adequately fund core government services," Miller wrote. "However, while lawmakers didn’t let this crisis go to waste, far fewer one-time funds would have been necessary if they had better leveraged the opportunity."

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Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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