KGOU

state budget

high school library
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Due to Oklahoma’s revenue failure, the state Board of Education was mandated to cut expenses to K-12 education by $47 million. At a special board meeting held Thursday, Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said these cuts could seriously impact some school districts.

“We do anticipate that some school districts will have a very hard time remaining open,” she said.

In January 2015, drought stricken Waurika Lake was dangerously low.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

There’s a $1 billion hole in the state budget that has consequences for Oklahoma’s environment and natural resources. A controversial state question could pit farmer against farmer. The ground beneath Oklahoma is shaking — figuratively and literally in 2016 — and StateImpact is on it.

Finance secretary Preston Doerflinger (left), House Speaker Jeff Hickman (center), and State Sen. Clark Jolley (right) address the budget situation and revenue failure during a Deember 17, 2015 news conference at the state Capitol.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma budget officials sounded a dire financial alarm this week – low oil prices have driven state government revenues to failure.

Lawmakers and state finance officials say a projected $900 million hole in next year's state-appropriated budget could grow closer to $1.1 billion when adjusted for one-time expenditures used to plug a hole in the current state budget.

Those numbers will be officially presented to the state Board of Equalization on Monday. Three of the state’s top finance leaders met with reporters at the state Capitol on Thursday to detail the shortfall.

Preston Doerflinger, Office of State Finance director, during a November 2011 tax credit task force meeting.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The hole in next year’s state budget will likely be just over $900 million, Oklahoma Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger said Tuesday.

Oklahoma Capitol Building
ana branca / Flickr

Oklahoma’s state budget is becoming more dependant on one-time funding sources, according to state treasurer Ken Miller, during both good and bad economic times.

Miller remarked at the Oklahoma State University Center for Applied Economic Research 2016 Economic Outlook Conference in Oklahoma City that the state should not experience the biggest budget hole in its history at a time of 4.3 percent unemployment, according to Shawn Ashley from eCapitol.

Gov. Mary Fallin and other state leaders observe a PowerPoint presentation of revenue projections.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin told state agency directors Monday to prepare for 10 percent cuts through the next fiscal year.

Fallin issued an executive order saying that by Dec. 1, agency heads should provide cabinet secretaries written documentation of a 10 percent cut in non-mission-critical agency expenses. The plan also must detail how the money saved will be reallocated to fill other needs.

Oklahoma Watch Executive Editor David Fritze, House Minority Leader Scott Inman (D-Del City) and House Speaker Jeff Hickman (R-Fairview) during an Oct. 20, 2015 panel discussion in Oklahoma City.
Patrick Roberts / KGOU

House Speaker Jeff Hickman says he expects next year's state budget gap to be even higher than the $611 million shortfall lawmakers faced when crafting the spending plan for fiscal year 2016.

The Republican from Fairview expects it could be as high as $700-800 million.

Chesapeake Energy's Oklahoma City headquarters.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

More than 500 Oklahoma employees of Chesapeake Energy are out of a job following the latest layoffs Sept. 29, as oil prices stay below $50 a barrel. Gasoline is cheap, but that relief at the pump can fuel widespread worry about Oklahoma’s oil and gas-reliant economy.

Alvin Trusty / Flickr

For a lot of schools in Oklahoma, juggling flat budgets with increasing costs means a bumpy road ahead for district superintendents. And getting teachers to work for the meager starting salary is also a struggle.

So how do they make it work? Some districts in Oklahoma pay teachers in time – four days a week, instead of five.

Ask a kid from Asher Public Schools—where they’ve been doing it for five years—and they’ll tell you it’s the best. But for parents—there are a lot of questions.

Oklahoma House of Reps / YouTube

House lawmakers approved a $7.1 billion budget late Wednesday night just one day after unveiling the plan. It now goes to the Senate on a 54-42 vote that saw several Republicans voting against the bill along with the House’s Democratic minority. The upper chamber is expected to consider the budget Thursday.

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

A little over two weeks before the constitutionally required deadline for Oklahoma lawmakers to wrap up the legislative session, Gov. Mary Fallin and leaders of the House and Senate announced a budget deal Tuesday afternoon.

The $7.1 billion budget is just over one percent less than the current fiscal year, and closes a $611 million shortfall by tapping the Rainy Day Fund, state agency revolving accounts, and the Unclaimed Property Fund.

A class in the assistant principal's old office at Burcham Elementary in Weatherford.
Emily Wendler / KOSU

Oklahoma has gained 40,000 new students since 2008, but funding from the legislature hasn’t kept up with the growth. More students and less money means some schools are running out of space and have been dipping deep in to their savings accounts. They are making do, but it’s at a tipping point for some districts. Either they get more funding and add more space, or the class sizes get bigger and bigger.

okpolicy.org

Unresolved issues tied to education, incarceration and mental health services will hamstring Oklahoma’s ability to remain among the nation’s top 5 fastest growing economies, a panel of government officials and economists concluded during the Oklahoma Policy Institute’s 2nd Annual State Budget Summit.

On January 29, OPI Director of Policy Gene Perry led the panel through “An Economic Check-Up” of the state’s current economic conditions and fiscal policies. 

State agencies are being asked to return to the Capitol to have an in-depth discussion about their budgets, the leaders of the House and the Senate said Thursday. The meetings to discuss budgets are a result of the $611 million dollar shortfall authorized by the State Equalization Board last Tuesday.

KellyK / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma lawmakers return to the state Capitol Monday, facing a $300 million budget hole, calls for prison reform and a renewed push to reduce the number of tax incentives offered by the state.

The session will open at noon, when both Houses of the Legislature meet jointly to hear Republican Gov. Mary Fallin’s state of the state address. Under the Oklahoma Constitution, lawmakers will have 90 days to complete their work.

Pages