State Budget

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel first off about the tragic news on the passing of State Representative David Brumbaugh of Broken Arrow, the first set of revenue raising bills passes out of a committee, and a coalition of 21 state groups provide a budget suggestion to fill a budget shortfall and run state government.

okhouse.gov

Lawmakers are slowly working on measures to increase revenue.

House Appropriations Chair Leslie Osborn says over the next three weeks bills will be coming out of the Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget, also known as J-CAB.

The Mustang Republican says most of the measures appear to be getting support from both sides.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the state having to once again borrow money, this time $31M to pay for operational expenses, lawmakers sending Governor Fallin a measure to end tax credits for the wind industry this summer rather than in 2021 and an e-mail causes controversy when it warns House pages of "crossdressers" in the building.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The 2017 legislative session is beyond the halfway point and the clock is ticking on lawmakers who have until the end of May to set the state’s budget and plug an $870 million funding hole. Legislators say every option is on the table, including one with growing public support: Increasing taxes on oil and gas.

First, it was state Democrats like minority leader Scott Inman, who have long argued Oklahoma’s taxes are too generous for oil and gas companies.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

In March, the legislature asked state agencies how they would deal with worst-case budget reductions of nearly 15 percent. A cut that deep at the Department of Tourism could cost Oklahoma half of its state parks.

A group of small oil and natural gas producers in Oklahoma have formed an alliance and are asking the Legislature to increase the gross production tax back to 7 percent, saying the industry is committed to helping solve the state's budget crisis.

The Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance announced Monday it plans to ask lawmakers to get rid of a generous tax cut on oil and natural gas production that was approved by the Legislature in 2014. That bill dropped the tax rate from 7 percent to 2 percent for the first few years of production, when oil and gas wells are most profitable.

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 Office of Management and Enterprise Services announcing it had taken $240M from the state's Rainy Day Fund to pay for operating expenses and the House heats up with a bill to provide a $34M supplemental appropriation to the Department of Human Services.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Crews have worked for more than a week to contain a massive wildfire that has torched more than a thousand square miles and killed one person and thousands of head of livestock in northwestern parts of Oklahoma. State budget cuts mean Oklahoma increasingly depends on other states to fight its largest and most dangerous wildfires.

A week after the fire started, state forestry director George Geissler oversaw the state’s response at a makeshift operations center at the Woodward County Fairgrounds.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

State Representative Leslie Osborn is the new chair of the powerful House Appropriations and Budget Committee, an influential position that gives her bills extra weight. StateImpact talked to Osborn about legislation she’s pushing to increase mining fees, and to explore the sale of the Grand River Dam Authority.

GRDA IN THE CROSSHAIRS

Dave Newman / Shutterstock

Oklahoma lawmakers will be confronted by familiar issues when they convene the 2017 Oklahoma Legislature.

Leaders of the Republican-controlled House and Senate say they'll focus on their priorities when the four-month legislative session begins on Monday.

High on that list is coping with an $870 million state budget shortfall for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Republican Gov. Mary Fallin will call for "a major overhaul of our tax system" in her state-of-the-state speech to tap new revenue streams to help boost teacher pay and meet other needs.

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