Fallin posts details of cuts to agencies since 2009; more ahead

Team Radio Marketing Group - February 21, 2017 1:10 pm

Gov. Mary Fallin posted this graphic to her Facebook page Tuesday morning following a meeting of the Board of Equalization. It shows the percentages of cuts to a variety of state agencies since 2009.

“This slide was presented at the Board of Equalization meeting detailing cuts to state agencies since 2009,” the governor said. “Many agencies have seen their budgets reduced by more than 40 percent since 2009 funding levels. The call for new sources of revenue was heard by all at this morning’s meeting.”

In the meeting, the Board of Equalization certified the Oklahoma Legislature will have $878 million less to spend on the budget for the upcoming fiscal year and that additional cuts must be ordered for the current year.

Collections to the state’s general fund fell well short of projections. That means finance officials will order across-the-board cuts to all state agencies, including public schools.

The shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year beginning July 1 means the Legislature will have about 13 percent less to dole out to state agencies than they spent last year.

House Speaker Charles A. McCall of Atoka released the following statement after the Board of Equalization meeting:

“Today’s certification by the Board of Equalization hasn’t taken House Republicans by surprise. We have been preparing to deal with another budget gap since the end of the 2016 legislative session and started discussing possible solutions months ago.

“The revenue failure reflects an actual revenue shortfall of 0.7 percent of last year’s estimate and will require state agencies to adjust their current budgets accordingly. These situations evolve, and it would be unproductive to rush to conclusions. Last year, overly cautious cuts based on declarations of revenue failure resulted in $140.8 million in excess funds that were returned to our state agencies,” McCall said.

“The current fiscal situation is challenging, but it is not insurmountable. Voters sent us here to solve these problems, and I truly believe we can find solutions to help us responsibly fill the budget gap and craft a budget that protects our most core services for 2018,” McCall said.

This is the third consecutive year with a budget shortfall and the second straight for a revenue failure. A revenue failure is declared when collections fall more than 5 percent below estimates.

Fallin said Tuesday she would be willing to veto a general appropriations bill approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature if it doesn’t include some investment in state services.

Fallin said she is not willing to cut close to $900 million from state services like public schools, child welfare, health care and state prisons.


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