2016 State Budget Summit

2016 State Budget Summit

When: January 28, 2016

Where: Will Rogers Theater, 4322 N. Western Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73118

Follow the Summit on Twitter #okbudget16;  The tweets are “storified” at: https://storify.com/arightler/state-budget-summit-2016

Scroll down for videos of each part of the Summit.


As Oklahoma’s 2016 legislative session approaches, the state’s budget crisis is uppermost on the mind of policymakers and the public. Plummeting oil and gas prices are worsening budget problems that have plagued the state since at least the start of the last recession. The state may face its biggest shortfall since the oil bust of the 1980’s, without any simple or painless solutions to get us through.

OK Policy’s 3rd Annual State Budget Summit brought together experts and those affected by the budget crisis for a day of thoughtful discussion and exchange of ideas. Participants addressed such questions as: What is contributing to the state’s chronic and growing budget gap? What effects are shortfalls and cuts having on the providers of public services and the people that they serve? What options should be considered to close the budget gap and put our state finances on more solid footing? And what can we learn from the experience of our neighbors in Kansas about paths to adopt or avoid?


8:30 – 9:00: Registration and light breakfast

9:00 – 9:15:  Welcome and Introductions

9:15 – 10:00: Oklahoma’s Budget Crisis: How Did We Get In, How Might We Get Out?

David Blatt, Executive Director, Oklahoma Policy Institute [download presentation slides here]

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10:00 – 11:30: Panel Discussion: “Managing the State Budget Crisis: What Needs to be on the Table”

A panel of the state’s top policymakers and experts will engage in an in-depth discussion of what measures should be considered over the coming months to help address the budget shortfall. Specific subjects will include off-the-top allocations, agency consolidation, halting future tax cuts, broadening the sales tax base, and other revenue options.

Participants: Senator Clark Jolley, Chair of the Senate Appropriations and Budget Committee; State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones; Representative Scott Inman, House Minority Leader; Honorable Cindy Simon Rosenthal, Mayor of Norman; Chuck Hoskin Jr., Secretary of State of the Cherokee Nation; Dr. Mickey Hepner, University of Central Oklahoma Business School Dean.

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11:30 – 12:00: LUNCH (vegetarian options provided)

12:00 – 1:00: KEYNOTE TALK

Annie McKay and Duane Goosen, Kansas Center for Economic Growth, “Bad Chemistry: The Failed Kansas Experiment”

Four years ago, Governor Sam Brownback and the Kansas legislature launched a radical experiment by slashing the state’s top income tax rate and repealing the tax  on sole proprietorships and other “pass-through” businesses. The tax cuts were billed as a way to jump-start the state’s economy, but since then, Kansas’ economy has languished and the state has grappled with substantial budget deficits. Our keynote speakers, Annie McKay and Duane Goosen of the Kansas Center for Economic Growth, will examine the results of the Kansas experience and reflect on its lessons for other states.

The Kansas Center for Economic Growth (KCEG) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts research and analysis to promote and advance balanced, responsible budget and tax policies that help ensure all Kansans prosper. Annie McKay is the Executive Director of KCEG, a position she’s held since the organization’s launch in January 2013.  Before coming to KCEG, Annie worked as a research analyst with the University of Kansas coordinating and assisting with evaluation of early childhood programs and federally funded programs targeting low-income students.  Duane Goossen is the Kansas Center for Economic Growth’s Senior Fellow. Before joining the Center, Duane was a seven-term member of the Kansas House of Representatives and a budget director for 12 years serving under both Republican and Democratic Governors. 

[download presentation slides here]

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1:15 – 2:45: The Human Cost of Budget Cuts: Testimonials from the Front Line

During this session, we will hear first-person testimonials from a variety of groups and individuals affected by the state’s long-standing budget cuts and shortfalls. Among the speakers will be state agency directors and staff, educators, parents, health care providers and consumers, advocates, non-profit leaders and others. Following the testimonials, there will be time for audience questions and discussions.

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