- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 27, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma’s attorney general says the state’s finance officials can legally borrow money from its Constitutional Reserve Fund.

Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger has borrowed the fund’s entire balance of $240.7 million this budget year to cover the state’s expenses, The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/2sMFmZS ) reported.

Doerflinger requested Attorney General Mike Hunter’s opinion of whether it’s legal to borrow from the fund, also called the rainy day fund, since the Oklahoma Constitution states the finance secretary can transfer state funds to cover expenses when revenue is down.

Hunter wrote in an opinion released Monday that transfers from the fund are legal if they’re temporary. Under the Constitution the borrowed funds are to be replenished by the end of the fiscal year.

Hunter also said that transfers from the fund must be based on a reasonable estimate. Hunter said the reserve fund can’t be used to avoid revenue failure declaration. He warned that borrowing from the fund also can’t interfere with the Legislature’s ability to appropriate money from the fund.

Doerflinger said he expects to repay the remaining balance owed to the fund with June tax revenue.

“Hopefully this opinion helps settle the issue and will help leaders focus on the state’s revenue problem that forced us to borrow from the rainy day fund to make allocations to state agencies,” Doerflinger said.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com


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