State Budget

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.

green-bambino.com

Local businesses are celebrating news that Amazon will start collecting sales tax from Oklahoma customers next month.

Morgan Harris, owner of Green Bambino, says this money is something which could go a long way to helping shore up some of the budget issues in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Lawmakers Grapple With Budget Shortfall

Jan 25, 2017
Dave Newman / Shutterstock

When Oklahoma's legislature reconvenes in a few weeks, lawmakers will have plenty to deal with. Most pressing on the agenda is a $900 million budget shortfall.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin is exploring the possibility of making changes to the sales tax code by eliminating some exemptions in order to meet the budgetary demands. 

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The last few years have been grindingly tough for state government in Oklahoma as plunging oil prices decimated tax revenues, forcing agencies to lay off employees, shutter offices and scale back 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.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about a prediction from Governor Fallin that she will be facing a shortfall of $500M to $600M for her executive budget and news that the Trump Administration is not picking her to be the Secretary of the Interior.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oil prices are on the rebound, which should eventually generate revenue and help Oklahoma’s state budget situation. Still, another budget hole — that could be as large as $600 million — will likely have to be filled during the 2017 legislative session. One emerging idea that could put an extra billion dollars in state coffers: Selling the Grand River Dam Authority.

Gov. Mary Fallin says she'll still vote for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump even after his 2005 comments that came to light Friday. In a press conference Monday, Fallin said she believes Trump's “vision for America” is better than Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s.

Pages