KGOU

budget process

Oklahoma State Capitol Building
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

Gov. Mary Fallin signed the Fiscal Year 2018 Oklahoma state budget Wednesday.

Oklahoma State Capitol Building
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

Oklahoma state lawmakers have yet to agree on a plan to raise money for the state, and could be facing special session. 

Oklahoma State Capitol
mrlaugh / Flickr

The 55th Oklahoma Legislature wrapped up its first session a little over two weeks ago on May 22, one week ahead of the constitutionally required deadline to adjourn.

Lawmakers passed bond issues for widely publicized museums in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa. But the $611 million shortfall in the state budget dominated the conversation from January to May, even though details of the $7.1 billion agreement didn't emerge until shortly before the gavel fell. To plug that gap, lawmakers cut most agency budgets by five to seven percent, and also used monies from the state's Rainy Day Fund and state agency revolving accounts.

Oklahoma State Capitol
mrlaugh / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Oklahoma voters would decide if the Legislature should dedicate every other year exclusively to writing a state budget under a measure approved by a House committee.

The House Rules Committee voted 8-2 Thursday for the resolution by Republican Rep. Randy Grau of Edmond. It now heads to the full House.

The bill calls for a statewide vote on whether to amend the state constitution and allow the Legislature to draft a budget every year but only take up public policy measures on all other topics in odd-numbered years, with some exceptions.

The Oklahoma Senate
Becky McCray / Flickr Creative Commons

Support is growing among Republican leaders to have every other legislative session dedicated exclusively to writing the budget.

With as many as 3,000 bills filed every year, rank-and-file legislators complain they have little time to dedicate to working out Oklahoma's annual spending plan.

A proposal last year to send the issue to voters passed the House with bipartisan support, but was derailed in the Senate.

But Republican Gov. Mary Fallin endorsed the plan during her campaign for governor, and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman said this week he's open to the idea.