Bills underscore Oklahoma lawmakers’ distaste for bond issues

The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: February 25, 2013

HAVING established their dislike for using bond issues to pay for repair and upkeep of state infrastructure, Republican lawmakers are taking new steps to drive home the point.

A bill by state Sen. Josh Brecheen, R-Coalgate, would allow the people to vote on whether to amend the Oklahoma Constitution to place a ceiling on how much the state could spend each year on debt service payments — limiting the amount of bonds the state could sell. “Many of us would possibly change our minds on issuance of new debt if we knew there was some limit,” Brecheen told the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

On the other side of the Capitol, House Speaker T.W. Shannon has authored a bill that, as approved by the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, would require that the state’s bond payments not exceed 28 percent of the Board of Equalization certification each year.

Shannon, R-Lawton, joined a large majority of House Republicans who last year voted down a proposal for a bond issue to repair the Capitol. Their mantra has been that adding debt is a bad thing for governments to do, and they point to Washington, D.C., as Exhibit A. Indeed in a news release about his bill, Shannon noted, “We’ve seen what unchecked spending has done in Washington, D.C., and Oklahoma will not go down that path.”

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