Edmondson Proposes Removing GPT from Budgeting Process, Creating Capital Improvement Fund

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Drew Edmondson wants to shift the use of gross production taxes away from the appropriations budget and use it to create a capital improvement fund. He wants to make the move after the state budget situation has stabilized. He also wants education, public safety and health care fully funded before making the switch.

Edmondson contends moving GPT out of appropriations would help provide a more stable budget process.

“By its very nature, the GPT fluctuates from year to year,” Edmondson said. “We should be building the foundation of our state budget with less variable income streams.”

Edmondson also said he would support restoring GPT to seven percent. If he is elected governor and the Legislature hasn’t made that change, he is promising to send it to a vote of the people.

The former state Attorney General praised the efforts of Restore Oklahoma Now for taking on the issue through an initiative petition.

“The ballot initiative effort is being led by energy industry leaders who understand that this is a fairness issue,” Edmondson said. “For too long, corporate lobbyists have ruled the roost at the capitol and I’m encouraged to see so many leaders from the oil and natural gas industry standing up to do the right thing for our state and its people.”

Edmondson said his plan to shift away from using GPT in the state appropriations process and creating a capital improvement fund is a long-term plan, not something that will happen overnight.

“Shifting the GPT away from the general appropriations process should be a gradual undertaking,” Edmondson said, “and that process must only begin once the state’s budget has rebounded from the legislative mismanagement that has so deeply impacted the core functions of state government, including health care and education.”

He adds using GPT as a dedicated funding source for capital improvements also makes business sense.

“It’s easier to ask private industry to invest in our state when we can show that our state is investing in itself,” Edmondson said.

His idea is to move away from bonding for projects and use the capital improvement fund to pay for projects up front.

“It just makes good business sense,” Edmondson said. “We have to stabilize our state and then begin changing the way we operate from a fiscal standpoint. Step one is to stop digging the hole we’re in. Step two is to make sure we don’t end up back here again.”

Edmondson is facing former Senator Connie Johnson for the Democratic nomination in this year’s gubernatorial race.

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