Assessing General Government in Oklahoma

Assessing General Government in Oklahoma

General government agencies help make all other functions of government possible. Without these agencies the state cannot make laws, conduct elections, collect revenue, pay its bills, hire employees, or explain and account for what it has accomplished.  General government is in many ways the most visible part of government since media cover the Legislature and Governor, while the major agencies in this area collect money from and disburse money to millions of Oklahomans each year.

It is difficult to measure accomplishments of most general government activities. While elected officials meet and execute their various tasks, the public could not agree on how well they do since we all have different expectations. For most of the non-elected officials in this functional area, the goal is to provide effective service while minimizing diversion of resources from the agencies that provide direct services. Measures that are available suggest that financial management of Oklahoma government is good but we fall behind in creating a government that is ready for the 21st century.

Here are a few indicators of where general government in Oklahoma stands today.

Aa2/AA+ — The State of Oklahoma’s bond ratings, from Moody’s Investors Service and Standard and Poors Corporation, respectively as of August 2016. Both ratings indicate the state’s bonds are above average in credit worthiness. Ratings consider the state’s economy, financial position, governance, and debt levels.

14th — Oklahoma was tied for 14th in tax revenue volatility in 2014, according to Pew Charitable Trust’s scoring of the states. Our score of 6.3 was higher than the average state score of 4.9. Each state’s overall volatility score is based on year-to-year percent change of its total tax revenue adjusted for all known tax changes.

57% — Oklahoma’s Electoral Performance, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Electoral Performance Index.   The EPI analyzes 17 key indicators of election administration and scores each state’s performance by indicator and overall.  In 2016, Oklahoma was the second-worst-performing state overall, ranking among the lowest fifth of states in voter registration, voter turnout, and unreturned mail ballots.

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