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Fri May 16, 2014
Tentative Deal Reached On Oklahoma State Budget
Gov. Mary Fallin's chief budget negotiator says a tentative deal has been reached with the House and Senate on a roughly $7 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
State Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger said Friday details of the plan will be released later in the day after the budget is presented in closed-door meetings with rank-and-file members of the House and Senate.
House Speaker Jeff Hickman says he hopes a bond issue to repair the state's crumbling Capitol is part of the final agreement.
Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman says the $188 million shortfall required tough decisions.
"Agencies have known all year they would have to do more with less and we know many have proactively begun to operate more efficiently in anticipation of these necessary and expected cuts," Bingman said in a statement. "We were able to protect core services and continue our commitment to improving our state’s education system."
Doerflinger says public schools will receive an additional $80 million under the plan, while money also is included for pay raises for targeted state workers such as prison guards and child welfare workers.
"The $80 million increase in K-12 funding shows that we are committed to supporting our teachers and improving education for Oklahoma children, even during tough budget times," Fallin said in a statement. “I’m also proud to deliver a budget that will help to improve safety measures for children in state custody, adequately fund the state’s eight-year transportation plan, and deliver pay raises to some public employees who have long been underpaid."
eCapitol's Shawn Ashley reports the Fiscal Year 2015 budget is $102.1 million less than FY2014 appropriations, with a significant cut coming to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.
OHCA budget flat since receiving $47 million supplemental this year to address cash flow issue
— Shawn Ashley (@eCapitol_Shawn) May 16, 2014
The Oklahoman's Rick Green reports Doerflinger said Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers, corrections officers, and workers at the Department of Human Services would receive raises, but there's no plan to fund the completion of the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum.
He described as “dead” a proposal for $40 million in state money to finish the Indian center in Oklahoma City.
Many state employees would see their first raise in several years. Doerflinger said plans for a bond to repair and refurbish the state Capitol continue to center around a $120 million, 10-year proposal.
He said while many agencies would see 5 percent budget cutbacks.