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budget

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.

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."

The Oklahoma Senate
Becky McCray / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Legislature would dedicate every other year to exclusively writing a state budget under a proposed constitutional amendment approved by the state Senate.

The Senate voted 36-10 for the measure Wednesday and sent it to the House for consideration.

Synergos Institute / Flickr

Despite a budget hole of $611 million, a court-ordered reform of Oklahoma’s child welfare system will be funded for the 2016 fiscal year, the chairmen of the Legislature’s budget-writing committees said Monday.  

State Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, said the Department of Human Services’ Pinnacle Plan would be funded for the next fiscal year.

“It’s not up for debate,” said Jolley, chairman of the Senate’s Appropriations Committee. “The Pinnacle Plan will be funded.”

Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, who is House budget chair, agreed.

The federal deficit is on track to its lowest level as a percentage of the economy since 2007, and the economy is stronger than expected.

That's the good news from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office's new economic outlook released Monday. "Economic activity will expand at a solid pace in 2015 and over the next few years — reducing the amount of underused resources, or 'slack,' in the economy," the report said.

Oklahoma Treasurer Ken Miller
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma's treasurer says the state's economy performed well to close out 2014, but that continued low oil prices will eventually start to drag down other sources of revenue like income and sales taxes.

Treasurer Ken Miller released figures on Wednesday that show overall collections by the state in December and in 2014 exceeded those from the prior year. But he warned that December oil and gas production taxes reflect oil field activity from October, when oil prices were around $85 per barrel.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee and state Rep. Joe Dorman (D-Rush Springs) and Republican incumbent Gov. Mary Fallin during the October 2, 2014 debate at Oklahoma State University.
OStateTV

Incumbent Republican Gov. Mary Fallin and Democratic state Rep. Joe Dorman of Rush Springs faced off Thursday night at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater in the only scheduled gubernatorial debate before the November 4 elections.

The two candidates focused on education and public safety issues and sparred over the current administration's handling of the economy.

ECDC Public School's class watches intently as teacher Sommer Lyons shares the story of the Easter Bunny.
Nick Conroy / Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma schools are receiving their allocation for the new fiscal year, and districts are receiving an increase of about $38 per student.

The state Department of Education announced Wednesday it has released its allocations to school districts for the 2015 fiscal year.

The initial allocation is $3,077 per student, compared to $3,039 last year.

A budget agreement reached between Gov. Mary Fallin and the Oklahoma legislature this year resulted in an $80 million increase in funding for common education.

Kurt Gwartney / KGOU

Oklahoma lawmakers are preparing to take up budget bills for the upcoming year as they look toward an early adjournment of the 2014 Legislature.

Members of the House and Senate return to the Capitol Tuesday afternoon to consider enacting a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The Senate was expected to take up the fiscal year 2015 general appropriations bill Monday but did not do so, while a number of other measures won approval on the floor.

House Speaker Jeff Hickman (R-Fairview) at Gov. Mary Fallin's State of the State address - February 3, 2014.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma's governor and Republican legislative leaders agree in principle on cutting taxes, a multi-million dollar overhaul of the Capitol and revamping the pension system for state workers, but each side has different ideas on the specifics.

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