| March 28, 2012

State could save millions by privatizing services

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.

Many of the services currently provided by state agencies—the Tourism Department, the Department of Corrections, the Office of Juvenile Affairs, and the Department of Human Services come quickly to mind—can be performed at the same or better quality and at lower cost by the private sector. It is unjust to require taxpayers to support overpriced services—especially when many of these taxpayers are small-business owners being forced to subsidize their own competitors.

In the 2012 session, lawmakers should establish a joint committee, comprising both public and nonpublic sector appointees, specifically tasked with evaluating current services provided by government that are also provided by the private sector. This committee should create a comprehensive list of services that can be privatized, and then lawmakers should be required to take formal action accepting or rejecting the list of services to be privatized prior to the end of the 2012 session.

The potential savings from implementing such reforms would be $47 million for FY-2013, $52 million for FY-2014, and $57.9 million for FY-2015.

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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