Oklahoma’s constitution requires a balanced budget. Lean economic times require state leaders to do what many Oklahoma families must do — tighten their belts and live within their means.


Oklahoma’s constitution requires a balanced budget. Lean economic times require state leaders to do what many Oklahoma families must do — tighten their belts and live within their means.

This legislative session, state lawmakers and I have agreed to a balanced budget that does not raise taxes, raid the state’s Rainy Day Fund or cut vital state services.

My first year in office, the state faced a $700 million budget shortfall with a Rainy Day Fund that was virtually empty. Throughout my time in office, I have sought to increase and protect the state’s savings account so that it’s there for a real rainy day — not just a little drizzle.

While this year’s standstill budget meets the state’s basic operating expenses, it unfortunately leaves many important spending priorities unfulfilled. Teachers and state employees deserve raises, our transportation infrastructure needs greater investment, a host of worthy economic development efforts await funding and we must do more to increase access to affordable, quality healthcare.

These issues remain to be addressed, but funding for these important initiatives will be provided in future sessions. Unemployment in Oklahoma remains below the national average.

Our state is benefiting from a thriving energy industry, and our housing market has not seen the bust that has afflicted so much of the country. All of that points to a comparatively strong Oklahoma economy.

Many Oklahoma families are finding ways to stretch their dollars further, and it is only prudent that we at the state Capitol do the same. I am proud that state leaders, through consensus and compromise, reached an early budget agreement that continues to meet state needs without dipping into taxpayers’ pocketbooks.

If you have questions or comments, please write me at the Office of the Governor, Room 212, Oklahoma City OK 73105 or visit the “Contact the Governor” section of my Web site, www.governor.ok.gov.