Source: Oklahoma Economic Report, January 2014 via Oklahoma Watch
Recently, Treasurer Ken Miller shared data from the Council of Governments showing that Oklahoma ranked 7th in the percentage of state expenditures from federal funds, with more than two-fifths (43 percent) of all dollars spent by the state spending coming from Washington. Federal grants account for a large share of state spending on health care, human services, roads, education , public safety, environmental protection, and other core services.
The ten states with the highest reliance on federal dollars all have Republicans controlling both the Governor’s office and legislature (see chart), and seven of these states, including Oklahoma, are refusing to accept federal funds to expand health care coverage to low-income adults under the Affordable Care Act. Governor Fallin contends that accepting these federal funds is “unworkable and unaffordable,” and would “put Oklahoma on a fiscally unsound path.” However, an in-depth study by the Leavitt Group found that extending coverage would have a $14 – $17 billion positive economic impact on the state over a decade, and would reduce spending of state dollars by $450 – $485 million.
The unwillingness of states that rely most heavily on Washington for a whole range of programs and services to accept billions in federal funds to cover the uninsured has created some confusion. OK Policy offers the following modest proposal to sort things out:
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