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Probably the most significant piece of legislation to be offered in many years is SQ726—commonly referred to as SOS—Stop Over Spending.
Senator Randy Brogdon originally introduced this bill in the State Senate. The Democrat leadership refused to hear his bill so with the help of over 300,000 Oklahoma Taxpayers he has led the charge along with OIA to take it to a vote of the people.
SOS does one simple thing—It limits how fast government can grow, without cutting any services.
The highest priority of the state legislature is to provide fiscal responsibility with the taxpayer’s money. As evidenced over the last three decades this has proven not to be the case.
In the last ten years alone Oklahoma’s budget has grown from $2.5 billion to over $6 billion dollars—out pacing the private sector growth by 30%.
Last year government grew at a un-precedence rate of 12%--three times faster than the private sector, which only grew at about 4%.
This year Gov. Brad Henry has proposed to spend $7.15 billion in FY-2007, which is an eye-popping increase of $1.11 billion, or 18.4 percent, over last year’s appropriation of $6.03 billion
In 2005 the state collected $760 million dollars more than was budgeted for, and almost all of it was spent growing government and incurring long-term debt.
This year we expect to have an extra $1 billion dollars of excess revenue (over taxation) to spend, and it looks like the spending spree is already in full swing.
In two short years the State Legislature will increase spending by a whopping $1.75 billion dollars.
There is one thing you can count on from politicians—they love to spend money, especially when it’s not theirs.
For the first time in our state’s history “we the people” have an opportunity to tell the politicians how much of our money they are going to spend.
Historically the politicians have told us--how much of our money they are going to spend.
SOS will correct a hundred years of spending abuse by the state legislature and put us on a course for financial recovery and prosperity. Page 1 of 3
Let me explain what SOS will accomplish.
The Stop Over Spending initiative protects the taxpayer by slowing the growth of government.
It puts the state legislature on a budget and--creates an environment to force the legislature to prioritize spending by setting up common sense spending guardrails.
SOS will force the legislature to live like we do—On a Budget!
As I mentioned, in 2005 the State government grew 3times faster than the family budget, which is unreasonable and unsustainable.
Leaving money in the hands of the individual creates jobs and wealth; leaving money in the hands of the politicians creates bigger government.
SOS does not cut any services or government agencies; it simply slows the growth of government and allows it to keep pace with inflation and population increases.
THERE ARE FOUR MAIN POINTS OF SOS
1. SOS is designed to limit the growth of government from one year to the next based on the combined total of inflation plus population. (Popflation).
2. Emergency fund will be created and the existing Rainy day fund will be dissolved. Currently the rainy fund can be spent on anything the legislature wants.
The Emergency Fund can only be spent on a true emergency as defined in the bill--“An event, which is unpreventable and needs immediate expenditures to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens” (paraphrased). The governor must call for the emergency and legislature must approve with ¾ vote. The fund will be capped at 5% total state budget, which this year would be $300 million dollars.
3. Budget Stabilization Fund (BSF) will be created in case of a budget shortfall. The BSF will be capped at 10% of state budget and can only be used in case of a budget short fall. When revenues drop below estimates, up to 35% of the BSF may be used to fill the budget gaps. The fund this year would be capped at $600 million dollars
4. Excess revenue or (over taxation) is returned to the taxpayers in the form of a check or income tax refund. Income taxpayers will receive a rebate based on the proportion of their tax liability compared to the excess revenue. Had SOS been in effect this year each taxpayer would have received $800 dollars in tax savings.
A lot has been said about SOS and TABOR.
One thing that cannot be overstated…State spending is growing at un-sustainable rate---and today’s growth is at the expense of our children’s future.
I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect the legislature to do their job and be responsible with taxpayer dollars. Unfortunately that very seldom happens.
SOS will put the people in charge and give us a say on how much of our money will be spent by the politicians.
The Big Spenders don’t like it…but
SOS is a True friend to the taxpayer.