Budget & Tax

State spending grew faster than inflation or population growth

January 22, 2018

Curtis Shelton

In one generation, total state spending in Oklahoma has increased by $7.2 billion even when adjusted for inflation. This 70% increase shows the size and scope of government growing at an unsustainable rate. Over the same period, Oklahoma’s population grew by just 24%.

The recent oil boom, accompanied by federal stimulus money during the great recession, resulted in a spike in total state spending during 2009 and 2010. This made it easy to avoid tough choices and tradeoffs within state government. The still-unfolding scandal at the Oklahoma State Department of Health shows what happens when agencies become unaccountable to those we elect to oversee them and to those they serve. Responsible governance means putting a stop to unsustainable spending to ensure future generations of Oklahomans are free from overdependence on government.