The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

3 February 2003

The state of the state

The major interest when a new governor has to give a State of the State speech right away is how much of his campaign agenda he will be flogging, and Brad Henry was up to the task today.

After a moment of silence for the Columbia crew, Henry pointed to the state's budget shortfall, and declared: "Our will has outstripped our wallet." The condition of that wallet didn't stop him from proposing some new expenditures, but so what else is new? At least he didn't suggest raising taxes or the ubiquitous "user fees". And once again, he called for a state lottery, receipts to be earmarked for education.

It will be an interesting year in the legislature, to be sure. Henry has a Democratic majority to work with, but not much of one, and the Republicans aren't giving out any signals just yet.

Posted at 4:00 PM to Soonerland


Well, keep in mind that Henry's not necessarily going to get much budget cutting support from the Oklahoma leigislature, particularly in the Senate. The Dems in the OK Senate are largely old fashioned tax and spend types, and I suspect their solution to Oklahoma's budget woes will be tax and user fee increases.

This of course will cause more capital and talent to flee the state. Speaking personally, Oklahoma's dismal economic outlook is why my family and I moved to Texas a few years back.

Sad, really. Oklahoma has so much potential, yet in many ways it acts like a third-world country.

Posted by: MrSpkr at 4:09 PM on 3 February 2003

The legislature will undoubtedly propose such things; the question is whether Henry will be inclined to veto them. Right now it's too early to tell, but past history is not entirely encouraging.

Posted by: CGHill at 4:58 PM on 3 February 2003