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Chicken-Fried News: Incentive dilemma

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As lawmakers stare down a state budget deficit that could surpass $1 billion in 2015, many will point helplessly at losses in the energy sector.

And those people are not wrong.

The state rides oil booms and energy waves like a professional bull-riding champ during the best of times, but it has landed on its chin when the price of crude as fallen.

But is there more to the state’s current financial crisis than the price of oil?

Is it somehow self-inflicted?

House Minority Leader Scott Inman said as much in a statement last week, contending that more than $100 billion in income tax cuts and $2 billion in tax credits since 2004 has helped put the state in the bind.

In the state of tornado drills and storm shelters, it is surprising Oklahoma lawmakers have not better planned for times when the energy market goes bust.

The current balance of the state’s Rainy Day Fund is not even $400 million, compared to the billions other oil states have stockpiled.

This bed you’re laying in, Oklahoma — did you make it?

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