To understand how state and local governments operate in Oklahoma, we especially need to understand the budget. The budget is how we allocate resources across all of our publicly-supported institutions – not just state and local government agencies, but also many private businesses and non-profits that receive public funds to do such things as build roads, operate nursing homes, or provide child care.
The budget is a financial document, but it is also a moral document. How we allocate dollars reflects our common priorities and affects our common achievements. The same is true of how we divide the responsibility to pay for our public services and infrastructure. The taxes and other revenues collected by government represent each person’s investment in shared prosperity.
OK Policy’s Online Budget Guide, fully updated for 2017, is a tool for users to understand Oklahoma state and local governments, particularly how they collect and spend money. In the Online Budget Guide, we look at all sources of funding, not just the major taxes, and all spending, not just state appropriations. To the extent possible, we provide data showing how Oklahoma compares to other states and how spending and taxes have changed over time. We examine how the state budget is developed, and explore the serious fiscal challenges Oklahoma confronts, now and in the future.
We think you will find the Guide helpful and informative, no matter who you are. For those just getting interested in state and local government, like students, newly elected officials and public employees, and businesses that want to work with government, it’s a broad introductory text. For readers who are more experienced in government, including legislators, reporters, public employees, and interest groups, the Guide provides detailed facts and figures and in-depth analysis on the issues you care about. High school and college teachers will find the Guide to be an invaluable tool for everything from introductory civics to graduate classes in public budgeting and Oklahoma politics.
What’s In the Guide
The Online Budget Guide is organized into five main chapters. The guide can be read like a book from start to finish. You can also check out the executive summary, dig into the table of contents, or jump straight to any of the chapters below:
- Expenditures looks at how our state and local governments spend money, what they are achieving, and where they are falling short;
- Revenues looks at taxes and other revenue streams that support our state and local governments;
- Budget Process looks at how the Oklahoma state budget is developed, implemented and monitored;
- Policy Challenges We Face looks at the challenges and choices we face in ensuring adequate funding of public services through a fair tax system;
- Next Steps offers the reader suggestions for where to go to learn more and be more actively engaged on these issues.
Oklahoma Policy Institute’s Online Budget Guide is authored by Paul Shinn, Ken Kickham, David Blatt, and Gene Perry.
For more reports and information about the state budget, you can visit our budget & taxes issue page or subscribe to email updates about our work. If you’re ready to get more active in advocating for better budget and tax policies in Oklahoma, you can join Together Oklahoma.