The Oklahoma Senate on Monday approved a budget plan that responsibly addresses the FY ‘18 shortfall, holds education agencies, the Department of Corrections, and the Department of Human Services harmless, and minimizes cuts to other state agencies.
“The Senate has negotiated patiently all-session long, but it’s time for the budget gimmicks to end,” said President Pro Tem Mike Schulz, R-Altus. “We were elected to lead and guide this state in a responsible manner, and that is precisely what the Senate budget does. Like we’ve said all along, the solution to this year’s budget will come via a combination of cuts to agencies, new revenues, and structural budget reforms and that’s what is included in the Senate budget. The budget reforms approved by the Senate also will put our state on more solid financial footing in the future and lets us end our work on time and avoid a costly special session.”
“The time for gamesmanship is over. We cannot sit by and continue to wait on unfulfilled schemes to materialize. The Senate budget plan is a tough, yet responsible way to land the plane on the runway and move our state forward,” said Senate Majority Leader, Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City.
“This is a responsible budget plan that addresses this year’s huge shortfalls, but also contains new revenues and progress on budget reforms that will begin the process of dealing with the chronic structural deficits in our budget,” said Senate Appropriations Chair Kim David, R-Porter.
The Senate budget plan includes $510 million in new revenue including:
$239 million through reforms to “off-the-top” transportation funds, includes $125 million from increasing tax on gasoline and diesel by $0.06 per gallon;
$215 million from increasing the cigarette tax $1.50 per pack;
$43 million by eliminating oil and gas gross production tax rebates;
$16 million by eliminating manufacturing sales tax exemption for the wind energy.
The Senate budget also includes $69 million from revenue bills already signed by the governor.
The FY ‘18 budget shortfall stands at approximately $878 million. The state also has financial obligations including the Pinnacle Plan, debt service, and agency supplementals that bring the total deficit closer to approximately $1 billion.
The Senate budget plan includes the FY ‘18 certified revenue ($6,029,537,421) and when all combined, the Senate budget fills $869 million of the approximately $1 billion budget deficit. The remaining deficit would be made up by keeping cuts to state agencies at under five percent.
HB 2360, which contains the Senate budget plan, now returns to the House for approval of Senate amendments.