The Edmond Sun

Local News

June 27, 2012

Miller takes budgeting ideas to Americas conference

EDMOND — At the invitation of an international group of Central and South American government leaders, State Treasurer Ken Miller spoke in Campeche City, Mexico, to share his insight on the best budgeting practices for subnational governments.

Miller participated in the Conference on Budget and Fiscal Coordination in American Countries that was sponsored by several organizations including the Finance Ministry of Mexico and the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Latin America. Miller, an economist and former House budget chairman, was selected as a panelist because of his practical experience in public budgeting and his expertise in state and local economic policy.

“I was honored to join a distinguished panel of speakers from across the Americas to discuss best practices for efficient operation of state government,” Miller said. “Although my colleagues in government finance may have differing titles, languages and locales we share many similar responsibilities, challenges and concerns. This was a great opportunity to learn from each other.”

Miller said his budgeting advice to the foreign financial leaders focused on building a sound budget framework and process, basing spending on results rather than history, and concentrating resources into essential services. Concerning revenue, Miller said he encouraged the leaders to build a revenue structure that is diversified, recurring, stable and “profit-friendly.”

Miller said meeting participants were particularly interested in how states, such as Oklahoma, seem to have managed their finances well, when the federal government has failed to do so.

“Our relative success is due in large part to a conservative philosophy, a restrictive Constitution, bipartisan political cooperation and a thriving energy industry,” Miller said.

Miller suggested Washington politicians could learn from the Oklahoma model, but acknowledged that the state has room for improvement with budget prioritization, pensions and tax policy.

“Oklahoma has an excellent story to tell,” he said. “But my hope is that we’ll have an even better story to tell in the coming years as we continue to adopt better budget practices and responsible tax reform.”

Miller took part in the program through the National Association of State Treasurers’ exchange relationship with Mexico’s Permanent Commission on Functional Finance, which underwrote all travel expenses.

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