Doerflinger: Agencies Will Face More Cuts This Fiscal Year
State agencies will be dealing with even deeper cuts this fiscal year, on top of 3 percent reductions caused by Oklahoma’s revenue failure late in 2015.
On Monday, Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger sent an email to agencies saying the cuts would double starting in March, eCapitol’s Shawn Ashley reports:
"Please be advised that the 3.0 percent reduction to monthly General Revenue allocations must be deepened beginning in March. The purpose of this communication is formally to make you aware in advance," Doerflinger, who also serves as Gov. Mary Fallin's chief budget advisor, wrote in an email Monday. Doerflinger wrote that the exact amount of additional cuts will be determined Feb. 16 when the Board of Equalization meets to consider a new revenue estimate for FY2017 and will be presented a new projection from FY2016, the current fiscal year.
The 3 percent cuts affect corrections, education, infrastructure, and health care. They’ll cost public schools about $47 million for the rest of the fiscal year that ends June 30.
For Fiscal Year 2017, which starts July 1, cuts to state agencies could be as high as 13 percent if lawmakers take no action, Gov. Mary Fallin said in her State of the State address earlier this month.
Expect a less-than-good General Revenue Fund collections report for Jan. today. Deeper cuts to agencies to be announced within week.— Shawn Ashley (@eCapitol_Shawn) February 9, 2016
On Friday, state treasurer Ken Miller announced overall receipts were down $150 million last month – a 13 percent drop compared to the same month in 2015.
“The surplus-driven energy contraction continues to spill over into all of Oklahoma’s main revenue sources,” Miller said in a statement. “Every major revenue stream in January is smaller than a year ago. Collections from oil and natural gas gross production are off by more than 50 percent, and the downturn is suppressing income, sales, and motor vehicle tax collections.”
Oklahoma’s current budget crisis is inexorably tied to collapse of oil prices that started in 2014. The 70 percent drop in energy prices means there’s a lot less production tax revenue for state lawmakers to allocate.
Right now the shortfall stands at $900 million, but that number is expected to grow even further once new projections are certified next week.
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