Senator Fields prioritizes school budget this legislative session

Ponca City Now - February 3, 2014 6:20 am

Legislative session is kicking off today with Governor Mary Fallin’s State of the State address.

Committee meetings will begin tomorrow.

I spoke to district 10 Senator, Eddie Fields he said his biggest concern is budget

“When the State Inquisition Board met the third of December the revenue they certified, and this was just a preliminary certification was 171 million dollars less than what we appropriated last year to all the state agencies," Fields said. "From that standpoint we are going to have to ask some agencies to make cuts, while we hold others harmless. To me the ones we need to hold harmless are education, common ed for sure, DHS are probably the two biggest ones.”

Fields said he is going to try to get more money in the funding formula for school districts.

He said this will be a challenge because other state agencies are requesting more money.

They will also be looking at education reforms done over the last couple years.

He said they need to reevaluate them and see if they are working.

Fields said last fiscal year Oklahoma’s per cap ita income, per family increased.

Meaning we are a wealthier state.

“The Feds seen that and they are cutting our federal appropriation for Medicare Medicaid, some of our title funding is going to be cut, so we are going to have to put 50 or 60 million dollars into DHS for those recipients that are already in the system," Fields said. "That’s not counting new people that’s going to qualify. From that standpoint, where are we going to have to make cuts in other agencies to allow some of these other agencies to be harmless or maybe get a little bit of money just to kind of break even.”

He also said Fallin is proposing an income tax cut.

He is interested in her plan, but doesn’t know if this is the best time for a cut.

The Governor and House’s agendas will be released today.

Senate’s agenda has been released and they are still prioritizing being a business friendly state.


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