Thursday, October 28, 2010

Regional Averages: Per-Pupil, Total State Budget

Proponents of State Question 744 like to talk about the "regional average" of education spending, and they use this map to further illustrate their point:

They talk extensively about how we need to be at the regional average. In fact, that is the crux, the essence of their entire campaign.

However, let me show you a "regional average" map that I put together this evening. This is a "regional average" of the state budgets:

As the map clearly shows, Oklahoma's budget is a whopping $19.1 billion off of the "regional average". Even without Texas' titanic budget in the mix, Oklahoma is still $7.56 billion lower - just 48.5% of the regional-minus- Texas average.

Now, I suppose I could be a few billion dollars off in my figures, but that still doesn't make that much of a difference; Oklahoma's budget is significantly smaller than almost every state around us.

What does this mean? Oklahoma simply does not have the revenue to sustain "regional average" without major revenue increases (i.e. substantial tax hikes), large cuts to every other state agency, or a combination of both.

In other words, we cannot afford for State Question 744 to pass. Vote NO on State Question 744!


Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to see state figures that take into account the number of people in each state. Texas's budget is so much bigger primarily because it has so many more people.
Is the average proposed in 744 a total for the state or a per person figure? This all gets very statistical and confusing.

LD Jackson said...

I totally concur, Jamison. You have seen the comments over at my blog, questioning why we do not spend more on education. The proponents of 744 say we are spending on everything else before educations, but that simply isn't the case.

Besides all of that, this measure makes no common sense. Why would we want to mandate spending of any kind, without a funding mechanism in place to provide the money to spend? Passing 744 would be a total disaster, in my opinion.

Brian Altenhofel said...

On a per capita basis, Oklahoma has a budget of less than half that of the regional average. (I posted the figures on my blog with a link back to here.)

The number proposed in SQ744 is per pupil, which simply means per student. So basically, it currently takes approximately four people to pay for the education of one child in Oklahoma each year. Without any tax increases, it would take closer to five people.

Anonymous said...

I recall reading (OCPA?) that when "they" determined the regional average, the amount Oklahoma spends was not included.

Anyone know?

Bobbie McAuliffe

Jamison Faught said...

Bobbie, you are correct. The "regional average", according to the pro-744 folks, does not include Oklahoma (they only use TX, AR, MO, KS, CO and NM). I used their same logic in determining the "regional average" for state budgets.