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Tue February 18, 2014
Oklahoma Legislature To Have $188 Million Less To Spend
State lawmakers will have even less revenue to appropriate this year for state services than initially projected, in large part due to volatile corporate income tax collections.
A state board headed by Gov. Mary Fallin on Tuesday certified $6.9 billion in available revenue for the Legislature to spend on state programs for the fiscal year that begins July 1. That amount is more than $188 million less than the Legislature appropriated on state services last year, and $17 million less than was projected in December.
"There is no rule that government spending has to increase every year, and this year it clearly won’t,” State Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger said in a statement. “We’re basically back at FY 13 discretionary spending levels, which is perfectly manageable. Last time I checked, the skies didn’t fall and the seas didn’t boil in FY 13 when the state had about this much to spend. A 2.6 percent drop is no cause for panic.”
Finance officials say the main reason for the sharp decline since December is a decrease in the estimate on corporate income tax collections, and Fallin asked two members of the board to develop recommendations for better estimating those figures.
“It’s a classic ‘only-in-government’ paradox to collect more money than ever but have less to spend,” Doerflinger said. “The silver lining is this year’s decrease has nothing to do with the economy, which is still strong in the state and improving nationally.”
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