The majority of likely Oklahoma voters polled support a variety of reforms that analysts estimate would save the state of Oklahoma money, according to a recent SoonerPoll study.

The survey asked respondents whether they supported implementing cost saving reforms in several areas of annual state spending. In each of the four areas polled, majorities of 55 percent or more supported implementing the cost saving reforms.

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) created a list of what OCPA analysts consider to be, waste, inefficiencies and non-core services in state spending. OCPA holds that the cost saving reforms outlined in the list pave the way for an income tax phase out that does not require an increase in other taxes.

The questions polled in the SoonerPoll survey were drafted from that list.

Refer to the topline results to see the exact wording of the questions

The cost saving reform that garnered the most support was implementation of more rigorous performance reviews of state employees and better oversight of agency hiring and staffing levels.

After being told that, by implementing the reforms, an estimated 3-6 percent of the state workforce could be reduced, saving over $40 million annually, 73 percent of respondents said they should be implemented.

When respondents were asked about the $7.95 million the state spent from FY-2001 to FY-2011 subsidizing losses on state golf courses, 70.8 percent said the policy should be reformed.

Another question asked respondents whether the state should introduce competitive bidding for health benefit providers, an optional competitive health savings account for employees and measures to stop the overpayment of health benefits.

Results show that 69 percent of respondents were in favor of implementing the reforms, which, according to OCPA analysts, would save an estimated $75 to $100 million a year.

The reform which received the least support was a new stipulation that Career Techs in Oklahoma with sufficient local funds to operate would no longer receive additional state dollars. Results indicate that 54.6 percent supported the reform, which analysts estimate would save the state somewhere between $2 and $10 million annually.

Additional crosstab analysis reveals that all the reforms polled have broad bipartisan support.

“With Oklahoma government spending at an all-time high, it’s encouraging to see that voters support these common-sense reforms,” said Brandon Dutcher, OCPA’s vice president for policy.

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, was commissioned for this poll by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.   SoonerPoll.com conducted the scientific poll of 500 Likely Oklahoma voters were selected at random and administered the survey via live telephone interview between Feb. 8, and Feb. 23, 2012.   . The margin of error is plus or minus 4.38 percentage points.

1 COMMENT

  1. Improvement is great! State pension systems are designed for the injured public servant protecting, risking their life to help another. Nebraska, who invented 401K 22 plus years ago, could not make the 401K system to work for the state employees as the employees were to busy doing their jobs, were not educated in 401k, nor did they have time to sit in front of the computer screen to manage it. When the leadership in Nebraska, discovered 70-80 year olds that dedicated their lives to serving Nebraska couldn’t retire off of the 401k system the Nebraska leadership went back to State Pension Systems for their employees. In addition, when police, fire, Highway Patrol, Corrections Officer, are injured to the point of not being able to return to work this negatively impacts everyone. The injured State employee doesn’t have federal benefits like the Federal Military Hospital or other avenues to fall back on once placed on disability through the State Pension system. Basically, the injured State employee is bankrupt because there is no State insurance to fall back on. In addition, the injured State worker’s family and home mortgage are negatively impacted for the sacrifice of the State Public worker. With history showing that we need to take care of our OWN, Oklahoma needs to take care of their OWN that sacrificed alot to save alot.

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