Budget & Tax

Jonathan Small & Dave Bond | May 12, 2014

Myths and facts: Is Oklahoma state government experiencing a budget shortfall? The answer is no

Jonathan Small & Dave Bond

[Advocates for raising Oklahoma’s gross production tax from the current 1 percent rate to 7 percent on horizontal and deep-well drilling for oil and natural gas have made questionable claims about the nature of the tax, the effects of energy drilling on Oklahoma’s economy, and the relationship between taxes on drilling and funding state government. This is one in a series of posts in which we will present the facts.]

Myth: Oklahoma is “unable to fund state services” like schools, roads, and prisons because state tax collections, appropriations, and total spending are below prior years, creating a budget shortfall.

Facts: According to data from the Oklahoma Tax Commission and the state’s budget office, total state government spending in Oklahoma has exceeded prior year spending every year since at least 2001. Also, total state tax collections in Oklahoma from all tax sources are on track to hit record highs for the third consecutive year. Finally, in the most recent fiscal year for which the data are complete, available revenues for Oklahoma’s public education system from all sources – state, local, and federal – were at an all-time high.

Oklahoma lawmakers have more money to spend than ever before. Claims that Oklahoma’s state government currently faces a budget shortfall are simply not accurate. In actuality, we will likely have a surplus in total state tax collections compared to the last fiscal year. It is true that Oklahoma revenue estimators miscalculated, prior to the 2014 legislative session, as to how much the state would collect in taxes, predicting that higher tax collections would come in compared to actual receipts. It is also true that some policymakers in charge of writing the state budget would prefer to spend based on these overestimates. But reports from the state treasurer’s office indicate that gross tax receipts are likely to exceed the prior year, and even deposits into the state’s general revenue fund, from which state lawmakers make appropriations, are on pace to exceed last year’s deposits. Meanwhile, Oklahoma still gives state tax dollars to golf courses and rodeos.

Jonathan Small President

Jonathan Small


Jonathan Small, C.P.A., serves as President and joined the staff in December of 2010. Previously, Jonathan served as a budget analyst for the Oklahoma Office of State Finance, as a fiscal policy analyst and research analyst for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and as director of government affairs for the Oklahoma Insurance Department. Small’s work includes co-authoring “Economics 101” with Dr. Arthur Laffer and Dr. Wayne Winegarden, and his policy expertise has been referenced by The Oklahoman, the Tulsa World, National Review, the L.A. Times, The Hill, the Wall Street Journal and the Huffington Post. His weekly column “Free Market Friday” is published by the Journal Record and syndicated in 27 markets. A recipient of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s prestigious Private Sector Member of the Year award, Small is nationally recognized for his work to promote free markets, limited government and innovative public policy reforms. Jonathan holds a B.A. in Accounting from the University of Central Oklahoma and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Dave Bond Vice President for Advocacy

Dave Bond

Vice President for Advocacy

Dave Bond serves as Vice President for Advocacy at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. He was previously the CEO of OCPA Impact, OCPA's 501(c)4 action partner. Since 2011, Dave has advocated at the Oklahoma Capitol on issues of free enterprise, individual initiative and limited government. He has been referred to in the Tulsa World as "a prominent Oklahoma anti-tax lobbyist". Prior to his advocacy efforts, Dave worked in Oklahoma elections, focused mostly on state legislative campaigns. He was the executive director of the Republican State House Committee, the campaign arm of the Republican caucus of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Dave also worked with the campaign consulting firm A.H. Strategies and with the inaugural campaign of former Corporation Commissioner Jeff Cloud. In addition, he served in the media and communications divisions of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Dave has lived in Oklahoma most of his life and is a graduate of Oklahoma State University. He and his wife Marsha have two sons and live in Yukon.

Loading Next