Budget Agreement Reached

Ponca City Now - May 27, 2024 8:18 am

Rep. John Pfeiffer

by Rep. John Pfeiffer

An agreement between the House, Senate and the governor on the state budget was reached May 23 after eight public budget summits were held over the past few weeks.

Even though budget legislation each year is presented in committees and on the floor of each legislative chamber where it is questioned, debated and voted on in public view, this was the first year negotiations between House and Senate leaders were available to the public. It gave Oklahomans a behind-the-scenes look at this part of the process. The transparency gave taxpayers an extra look into how tax dollars are appropriated and the priorities of each legislative chamber.

Negotiations at times were tense and even combative, but at the end of the day, leaders came together to approve spending almost $12.5 billion on various state services and programs to improve the lives of Oklahomans.

The governor agreed to approve budge legislation when it reaches his desk. Currently, House and Senate staff are drafting multiple appropriations bills that will be heard first in each chamber’s Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget and then on the floor of each chamber.

We have until 5 p.m. May 31 to conclude our work in regular session.

Details of the budget agreement for FY25 include:

Education

  • $240 million for new engineering and science facilities at OU and OSU
  • $27.6 million for CareerTech to address its waitlist and admit more students
  • $25 million in additional funding into the school funding formula
  • $20 million for animal diagnostics lab at OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine
  • $1.5 million to support educational initiatives that increase awareness about the Oklahoma City bombing and its impact

Health

  • $30 million for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to increase long-term care provider rates
  • $30 million expansion for OSU Medical Center in Tulsa
  • $18.5 million in additional funding for the Department of Mental Health to address children’s mental health needs
  • $15 million additional funding for Choosing Childbirth, to provide services to pregnant women
  • $45.5 million to increase reimbursement rates for developmental disability service providers
  • $3 million in new funding to get roughly 300 additional individuals developmental disability services

Public Safety

  • $74 million to complete the Department of Public Safety’s new training facility in Lincoln County
  • $27.5 million for new OSBI headquarters building
  • $10 million in additional funding to help victims of domestic violence
  • $2.85 million for OETA to replace 11 rural transmitters to ensure severe weather and public safety alerts reach all parts of the state
  • $2.5 million for DPS academy to train more Highway Patrol troopers

Miscellaneous

  • $350 million for the new Oklahoma Capital Assets Maintenance and Protection Fund to cover deferred maintenance at state properties, state parks and public colleges and universities
  • $308 million to cover the cost of eliminating the state portion of the grocery tax
  • $45 million in disaster relief to help tornado-impacted counties
  • $20 million for the Governor’s Quick Action Closing Fund

The final agreed upon budget numbers can be viewed on the Senate website: 2024 Snapshots | Oklahoma Senate (oksenate.gov); and additional details can be accessed on the House of Representatives’ Budget Transparency Portal available on the House website okhouse.gov. Note that these numbers will be updated as legislation is approved.

As always, if you have concerns about bills, or problems I can assist you in solving, please reach out to me at [email protected] or call my office at 405-557-7332.

John Pfeiffer serves District 38 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. His district includes Grant County and parts of Garfield, Kay, Logan and Noble counties. 

 

 

 

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