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Positive approach a plus, but tough stretch ahead

Positive approach a plus, but tough stretch ahead

OUR VIEWS Gov. Henry remains upbeat
The Oklahoman Editorial

Published: January 24, 2010

BRAD Henry has seen this movie before. He hopes the ending to the sequel is as good as the original.

On becoming governor in early 2003, Henry faced a state budget deficit in the range of $700 million and had only a small lump of money in the Rainy Day Fund. In time, the national and state economies turned around, and a subsequent rebound in energy prices helped produce record revenues that a few years ago left the state with a $1 billion budget surplus.

Now, early in his final year in office, Henry faces another severe budget crisis. Revenue coming in 25 percent below estimates has forced state agencies to slash their budgets, but there still figures to be a hole of about $500 million that will need to be filled this fiscal year. Money from the Rainy Day Fund, which stands at about $600 million thanks to Henry’s insistence on leaving it alone, will be needed to make ends meet. Then in fiscal year 2011, which begins July 1, the deficit could approach $1 billion.

"We’re going to have to make some very, very difficult decisions, no question about it,” Henry told our editorial board last week. "But at the same time there’s no need to panic. We will get through this.”... FULL ARTICLE


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