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Senate Democrats call for sustainable use of one-time funding in the budget

OKLAHOMA CITY – Thursday, Senate Democrats called for sustainable use of the one-time $1.13 billion in funding available for state appropriations. This money would be in addition to the nearly $6.4 billion in federal funding coming to Oklahoma from the American Rescue Plan, of which $1.9 billion is going directly to state government. 

Monday, the US Treasury Department released guidelines for use of the American Rescue Plan dollars to:

  • Support public health expenditures
  • Address negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency
  • Replace lost public sector revenue
  • Provide premium pay for essential workers who bear the greatest health risks 
  • Invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure, making necessary investments to improve infrastructure and expand access to broadband internet.

Treasury guidelines can be found here. Federal monies are specifically barred from being deposited into rainy day funds or being used to cut taxes.

“Federal support was vital to our economy in 2020,” said Senate Democratic Leader Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City. “Using surplus one-time funds and federal support, we can accelerate our economy, address the needs of all Oklahomans affected by COVID-19, and ensure we are on a path toward economic recovery.”

“The biggest impact of the pandemic has been on Oklahoma families. Using one-time monies, we can invest in Oklahoma and lower the barriers to enter the workforce,” said Sen. Carri Hicks, D-Oklahoma City. Working mothers were hit hard during the pandemic. Many made the difficult decision to leave the workforce to care for children as schools and daycare facilities closed. As job numbers increase, working mothers and family caregivers still face hurdles such as childcare affordability. By utilizing one-time funding for additional caregiver support, we can ensure all Oklahomans have equal access to participate fully in our state’s economy.” 

“The best way to preserve the Oklahoma way of life is to make sure our state is 'family friendly' by investing dollars in things like small businesses, neighborhood schools, college tuition aid, childcare, prescription assistance, health care, housing and food security, and family work-life balance incentives,” said Sen. Mary Boren, D-Norman. “Oklahoma was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and we must work to secure the economic future of our working families.”­­­­

“For an economic recovery that will last, we must invest these dollars to help Oklahomans who have been hit hardest by the pandemic,” said Sen. Julia Kirt, D-Oklahoma City. “The CDC moratorium on evictions expires on June 30 and many Oklahomans are behind on rent. Use of one-time funds to ensure Oklahomans can stay in their homes creates stability among our most vulnerable population.”

Floyd and Kirt serve on the Senate Appropriations Committee. Hicks and Kirt serve on the Senate Finance Committee. Boren serves on the Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee.