Editorial: ‘Borrow and spend’ GOP leaders

It seems as though Gov. Mary Fallin and the Republican leadership in the Legislature are in a race with the federal government to see who can borrow the most in the shortest amount of time.

In the recent session, Fallin and the GOP leaders pushed through a budget that added $125,000,000.00 in borrowing for State Capitol renovation and $200,000,00.00 in new debt for roads.

According to the Oklahoma Constitution, the state must have a “balanced budget.” And almost every legislator – especially Republican leaders – campaign for re-election by bragging about their “fiscal responsibility.”

Last year, the GOP “borrow and spend crowd” approved $50,000,000.00 for museums in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The year before that, Fallin and her big spending pals passed a $125,000,000.00 bond issue for the State Capitol renovation. That’s right – the state is borrowing $250,000,000.00 to fix a building that probably isn’t worth that much.

This debt crisis is made worse when you see the acceleration of hundreds of millions in debt by Tulsa area school districts plus enormous bonding by Tulsa and other cities.

Not all Republican legislators are to blame. Several lawmakers from Tulsa and Broken Arrow voted against the “borrow and spend” budget.

All this borrowing will cause a downgrade of the state’s credit rating. It will deepen next year’s budget crisis.

And worse than that, it will saddle future generations with payments on debts they did not incur.