Preston Doerflinger

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about the failure by the State House to pass a measure to increase taxes on cigarettes, gas, low-pont beer and oil and gas wells to help fix a $215M shortfall in the budget, the State Health Department says it can't make payroll at the end of the month without a supplemental appropriation from the legislature and a national credit rating agency warns Oklahoma could drop in its credit rating because of a failure to fix the budget.

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

The new head of the Oklahoma State Department of Health says the agency has been spending more than its annual revenue since 2011. Interim Commissioner Preston Doerflinger said Monday accounting tricks were used to move money between different accounts.

A bill that moves approximately $23 million from the Rainy Day Fund to the state’s mental health agency is now heading to the governor's desk. It's the first bill to pass both chambers since the special legislative session began six weeks ago.

House Bill 1081X allocates $23.3 million from the fund to the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

Oklahoma’s state government will face a budget hole of about $869 million in the upcoming fiscal year, a 12.6 percent decrease from the current year, according to figures released Tuesday by Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger.

Doerflinger says lawmakers will have to make difficult decisions in the upcoming legislative session.

“I think it’s important for everybody to realize you’re not cutting your way out of this situation. I’ll start there. We have to have a serious conversation about revenue in this state,” Doerflinger told reporters.

Budget cuts of 7 percent ordered for Oklahoma's public schools and other state services likely were deeper than necessary, and the state will finish the fiscal year on June 30 with surplus revenue that could be allocated back to agencies, state finance officials confirmed on Monday.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about the announcement from the Bixby Public School District that it would be closing early because of budget issues and the Oklahoma Finance Secretary coming under fire after attacking fellow Republicans over Education Savings Accounts.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma finance officials on Thursday announced another $235 million in cuts amid the sharp drop in oil and natural gas prices, saying schools, prisons and other state agencies will see their budgets slashed by 7 percent for the rest of the year.

Public schools alone will have nearly $110 million cut from their budgets for the fiscal year that ends June 30.

Matt Trotter / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

A state board led by Gov. Mary Fallin has certified the Oklahoma Legislature will have a budget hole next year of $1.1 billion, and the deficit will actually be closer to $1.3 billion once one-time funds are considered.

The State Board of Equalization met Tuesday to certify how much money will be available in the state's General Revenue Fund for lawmakers to spend on the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma finance officials say the hole in next year's budget has increased to $1.3 billion, or nearly 20 percent of last year's spending, amid depressed oil prices.

The Office of Management and Enterprise Services announced Thursday that plunging revenue collections have widened the shortfall from the original projection of $900 million in December.

A state panel led by Gov. Mary Fallin will meet next week to certify how much legislators can spend in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Deeper budget cuts are coming for Oklahoma's schools, health care, roads and prisons.

Oklahoma's Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger notified state agencies Monday that continued declines in revenue collections will require deeper cuts than the 3 percent reductions that were ordered to begin in January.

Collections to the state treasury have continued to come in below projections, prompting a revenue failure.

The deeper cuts are expected to begin in March, although Doerflinger says the exact percentage reduction won't be determined until next week.

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