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The Special Session, In Numbers

2 hours ago
FILE- Oklahoma State Capitol
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Highlights in numbers from the 2017 special session that ended on Nov.17:

54

Days from start to end of the special session.

19

Days when lawmakers were actually in session.

83

Days between the end of the special session and start of the 2018 regular session. Typical interval between regular sessions: about 250 days.

10

Hours after Senate adjourned before Gov. Mary Fallin announced she would veto most of the bill.

Jeff Raymond / Oklahoma Watch

A cash crunch that emerged over the summer at the state Health Department goes beyond the state’s current budget shortfall and caused the department to reach out to public health agencies in Oklahoma and Tulsa counties for help in shoring up its finances.

Oklahoma state Capitol
elasticsoul / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A state board in charge of determining legislators’ salaries decided on Tuesday to keep compensation for state senators and representatives flat. They will consider reducing salaries and benefits when they meet again in January.

The Board on Legislative Compensation voted unanimously to maintain legislators’ current compensation, which includes a base salary of $38,400, in addition to benefits and compensation for per diem costs.

As Budget Deal Remains Elusive, Inaction Could Cost State

Oct 11, 2017
Oklahoma Capitol
ensign_beedrill / Flickr Creative Commons

Each passing day without a deal to bridge the state’s $215 million budget shortfall means less potential revenue will be available if lawmakers pass one or multiple tax increases.

An Oklahoma Watch analysis of state projections shows that each day that lawmakers don’t pass the $1.50-per-pack cigarette tax would cost the state between $680,305 and $712,265 in potential new revenue, depending on what calculations the state uses.

Olivia and Carter Kempen playing on a splash pad in Edmond, Oklahoma.
Zoe Travers / StateImpact Oklahoma

People who live in Oklahoma know the state’s weather is hard to predict. Erratic rain, heat and ice, and drought can also devastate government budgets. To combat this, researchers from the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University are using new software to help cities predict these economic strains.

MilitaryHealth / Flickr Creative Commons

 

The Oklahoma Supreme Court hears arguments August 8 in the case over the state’s new $1.50-per-pack cigarette fee.

cigarettes
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Two of the largest tobacco companies in the U.S. are suing Oklahoma over the state’s new cigarette fee.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Oklahoma State Highway Patrol Troopers can now drive as many miles as they want.

Oklahoma State Capitol Building
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

Gov. Mary Fallin signed the Fiscal Year 2018 Oklahoma state budget Wednesday.

Oklahoma State Capitol Building
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

Oklahoma state lawmakers have yet to agree on a plan to raise money for the state, and could be facing special session. 

Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

A state budget crunch could lead to less money for health care providers in Oklahoma.

 

Oklahoma’s state Medicaid agency may cut Medicaid reimbursements rates by up to 25 percent to make up for a state budget shortfall of almost $900 million. Preston Doerflinger, the state’s budget director, has asked the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to prepare for a possible 15 percent reduction in state appropriations. This means that companies providing services to Medicaid patients might not be fully reimbursed by the government. 

 

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.

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