budget

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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