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A Look at the 2017 CAFR

January 18, 2018 - 11:37am CST

The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) is a document put together by the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) to show the financial position of the state over the past fiscal year. Numerous financial activities are recorded in the CAFR, such as state pension funding levels, tax collections, debt levels, total state spending, and revenue by sources. It also includes total appropriations and the appropriations received by the highest spending agencies.

A look at the new spending totals for FY 2017 shows total state spending was $17.64 billion, down from $18.37 billion in the prior fiscal year (adjusted for inflation). Looking farther back, the chart shows the spending surge from 2006 to 2010. Spending levels in 2009 and 2010 were unsustainably high due to high oil and natural gas prices coincided with a massive federal stimulus to spike state spending.

Total state revenues in fiscal year 2017 increased, rising more than $350 million to $17.69 billion. This puts revenues near the same level as the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years when a major economic boom occurred thanks to high-priced oil.

As the chart shows, revenue has begun to reflect the increased economic activity during the back half of fiscal year 2017. This rise in revenue calls into question whether the state is facing a budget crisis when revenues have remained relatively stable since the influx of federal money during the great recession artificially increased state revenues. Focusing on wasteful spending in order to live within these revenues should be a priority for lawmakers to ensure no additional burden is placed on Oklahomans who continue to climb out of the recent economic recession.