| March 29, 2012

State could save millions by letting Arts Council operate independently

Following is an excerpt from OCPA’s Proposed State Budget for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2013.

With Oklahoma government spending at an all-time high (see chart), the time has come to set priorities and to exercise spending discipline.

The analysts at the John Locke Foundation have developed what they call the “9 R’s of Fiscal Responsibility,” which OCPA has gladly adapted in developing a state budget for Oklahoma. When considering the Arts Council, the three R’s that come to mind are “require more user responsibility,” “redirect spending to higher-priority uses,” and “restore civil society.”

The Arts Council can operate solely from donations and self-generated funds, without receiving state appropriations. Promotion of the arts is a nonprofit interest, which should not be advantaged over other nonprofit efforts that do not receive state appropriations. State government has core functions that are neglected when limited resources are diverted to things which are not core functions of government. Removing state funding for the Arts Council would not be a unique reform attempted only by Oklahoma. Kansas eliminated such funding in 2011, providing a great example for all states of wisely using taxpayer funds.

The potential savings from implementing such reforms would be more than $4 million annually.

Submitted each year by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, Inc. to the taxpayers of the State of Oklahoma and their elected Officials, the OCPA “Budget Book” is carefully crafted by Fiscal Policy Director Jonathan Small to help lawmakers set priorities and exercise spending discipline while creating a state budget that respects your family budget. Offering unmatched fiscal policy analysis and recommendations, Small draws on his experiences as a former budget analyst for the Oklahoma Office of State Finance, former fiscal policy analyst and research analyst for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and former director of government affairs for the Oklahoma Insurance Department to provide perspective on the state budget that you cannot find anywhere else.

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