DOWNSIZING GOVERNMENT IN OKLAHOMA


 

Oklahoma Has Downsized More Quickly Than Many More Highly Publicized States

Downsizing state government has become both a political and economic imperative. A number of states have garnered much national attention for their efforts at improving performance and government downsizing. The New Governor's Commission on Government Performance has pointed to Texas and North Carolina as models for the Commission's work. Other states that have been highlighted in the briefing materials for the Governor's Performance Commission include: Louisiana, South Carolina, Wisconsin and Iowa.

 

Oklahoma Is One Of Only Eight States To Reduce State Employment

Oklahoma has a better track record at downsizing than any of these highly publicized states according the January 1995 issue of State Policy Reports. Oklahoma was one of only 8 states nationally that reduced employment in the period of November 1990 to November 1995. All of the states cited in preliminary Performance Commission materials actually increased state employment in that period.

  • Oklahoma State Employment decreased by 0.3 percent in the period studied according to State Policy Reports.

  • Nationally, state employment grew at an average of 5.1 percent.

  • Texas state employment grew at a 13.3 percent clip. North Carolina state employment grew at 11.2 percent.

  • Oklahoma state government has 4,132 fewer state employees (non-higher ed) than the state did in 1993, according to the March FTE report published by the Office of State Finance. This represents greater than a 10 percent decrease in state employment.

  • There were 552 fewer FTE in the executive, legislative and judiciary in March of 1995 than there were at the beginning of the FY'95 fiscal year in July. This represents a 1.4 percent decrease in the state workforce in the first 8 eight months of the FY'95 fiscal year.

 

Corrections Employment Growth Masks Even More Impressive
Reductions Elsewhere In State Government

What makes Oklahoma's downsizing marks even more impressive is that during the period since 1990 employment of corrections workers in the state grew by 291 FTE, or more than 7 percent.

The growth in Corrections employees has been a long term trend in Oklahoma. From FY'85 to FY'94 Oklahoma had explosive growth in correctional employees as Oklahoma's incarceration rate became the highest in the country.

  • Oklahoma employed 1056 more corrections employees in FY'94 than did the state in FY'85.

  • Corrections employment growth was 55.2 percent for that time period.

  • Despite this increase in Corrections employees, Oklahoma still has the highest ratio of inmates to correctional officers in the nation according to the 1994 Criminal Justice Institute Yearbook.

 

November 1990 to November 1994

Rank

State

Percent

Rank

State

Percent

Rank

State

Percent

1

South Carolina

25.5%

18

Louisiana

7.3%

34

Minnesota

2.5%

2

Idaho

19.0%

19

Indiana

7.0%

35

Oregon

1.9%

3

Utah

18.2%

20

Montana

6.9%

36

Alaska

1.4%

4

Georgia

16.5%

21

Wisconsin

6.6%

37

Pennsylvania

1.2%

5

New Mexico

13.5%

22

North Dakota

6.4%

38

Iowa

1.0%

6

Texas

13.3%

23

Vermont

5.9%

39

Wyoming

0.7%

7

Nevada

13.2%

24

Virginia

5.9%

40

Connecticut

0.0%

8

North Carolina

11.2%

25

Nebraska

5.2%

41

Oklahoma

-0.3%

9

Mississippi

10.8%

United States

5.1%

42

Ohio

-0.6%

10

Hawaii

10.7%

26

New Hampshire

4.9%

43

Illinois

-1.1%

11

Washington

10.1%

27

Tennessee

4.8%

44

Michigan

-1.6%

12

Arkansas

10.0%

28

South Dakota

0.046

45

New Jersey

-2.8%

13

West Virginia

9.6%

29

Missouri

3.9%

46

Massachusetts

-4.5%

14

Kentucky

8.8%

30

Delaware

3.6%

47

New York

-5.9%

15

Alabama

8.7%

31

Maryland

2.9%

48

Rhode Island

-9.9%

16

Florida

8.5%

32

California

2.6%

17

Colorado

7.4%

33

Maine

2.6%

Note: Data not available for Kansas and Arizona
Source: State Policy Reports, Vol. 13, Issue 2, January 1995

 

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