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budget

Oklahoma state Capitol
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

The income tax rate in Oklahoma may be cut by an additional 0.15 percent if state revenue grows at a sufficient rate.

Rick Green reports for The Oklahoman that the income tax rate would fall from 5 percent to 4.85 percent at the beginning of 2018. Legislation that would have delayed the decrease passed the state Senate but did not come up for a vote in the House.

"Immoral" — that's how dozens of clergy members and charitable organizations describe lawmakers' plan to fix Oklahoma's budget by reducing tax credits that mainly go to working families and the elderly.

"What we need to do as a society is to continue to protect the most vulnerable — the poor among us, the disabled, the elderly — who would be immensely disadvantaged if these tax credits disappear," said Bill Tabbernee, who leads the Oklahoma Conference of Churches.

Oklahoma State Capitol
ensign_beedrill / Flickr Creative Commons

A group of lawmakers met at the State Capitol Tuesday to talk about withholding the state budget allocation for the Department of Corrections. The move comes after the agency opted last week to shutter more than a dozen work centers and relocate inmates to a prison in Granite. 

Oklahoma state Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, is pictured during a committee meeting in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 13, 2015.
Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press

It’s now the final month of the legislative session, and lawmakers have less than four weeks to pull off a budget deal to close a $1.3 billion shortfall for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Will they get it done?

“Yes,” state Sen. Mike Schulz, R-Altus, told reporters Thursday. “I want to go home.”

Oklahoma's constitution requires the legislature to adjourn on the final Friday in May. Lawmakers have discussed wrapping up their work a week early, which they’ve done every year since 2012.

Gary Vanarsdel and Dannie Caldwell wrap up a day on the lake at Dripping Springs State Park near Okmulgee, Okla.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Tourism is Oklahoma’s third largest industry behind energy and agriculture. State parks are big reason why. But the number of parks is dwindling after years of budget cuts at the Department of Tourism. And more cuts are on the way.

Parks In Transition

Oklahoma State Capitol
mrlaugh / Flickr

The 55th Oklahoma Legislature wrapped up its first session a little over two weeks ago on May 22, one week ahead of the constitutionally required deadline to adjourn.

Lawmakers passed bond issues for widely publicized museums in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa. But the $611 million shortfall in the state budget dominated the conversation from January to May, even though details of the $7.1 billion agreement didn't emerge until shortly before the gavel fell. To plug that gap, lawmakers cut most agency budgets by five to seven percent, and also used monies from the state's Rainy Day Fund and state agency revolving accounts.

Gov. Mary Fallin delivers her 2015 State of the State address on Feb. 2, 2015.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin has signed a $7.1 billion budget bill to fund state government and services in the upcoming year. 

The general appropriations measure that Fallin signed Monday provides funding for state agencies for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The measure was approved by the House and Senate in the final days of the 2015 Oklahoma Legislature, which adjourned on May 22. Fallin praised lawmakers for closing a $611 million shortfall without cutting funding for public education.

Aerial footage of floodwaters covering Alameda Street as it crosses Lake Thunderbird in far east Norman on May 24, 2015.
Lawrence McEwen / YouTube

Gov. Mary Fallin has directed the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to speed up bidding on county infrastructure projects and find more ways to support recovery efforts in light of widespread damage after flooding throughout the month of May.

Fallin says some state lawmakers have asked her to redirect money from Oklahoma's Rainy Day Fund to county infrastructure projects, which she doesn't have the legal authority to do.

Oklahoma House of Representatives Chamber
http://www.oklegislature.gov/

A day after announcing a $7.1 billion budget plan to fund state government and services in the upcoming year, Oklahoma lawmakers are considering legislation to enact it.

House and Senate committees on Wednesday passed a general appropriations bill that will fund much of state government for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The measure was expected to be considered by the full House and Senate Wednesday afternoon or Thursday.

The budget plan takes funds from dozens of agency revolving accounts and other one-time sources of money to ease cuts to many agencies.

Serge Melki / Flickr

The House, Senate and the governor's office are said to be close to an agreement on the FY 2016 state budget, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee said Monday.

State Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, said he hoped to have an agreement by Friday.

"We're not millions of dollars apart," Sears said. "The differences are small; a million here, a million there...There's still a lot more work to do."

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