Flat State Budget for 2013, Finance Officials Predict
Tax collections are above projections, but next year’s state budget is looking flat.
From the Associated Press:
“It’s still a little early … but my message is that I think we’re dealing with a flat budget,” Preston Doerflinger, director of the Office of State Finance, said.
Oklahoma isn’t facing a revenue shortfall like it has the past three years, reports The Oklahoman’s Michael McNutt, but almost $500 million in one-time funds won’t be available to lawmakers for the FY 2013 budget.
Another $36 million in income could be lost for the upcoming 2013 fiscal year if about a dozen tax credits that were suspended the past two years are allowed to continue; the state will start paying back $50 million a year in energy rebates that were not paid out the past two years to help Oklahoma get through its budget crisis.
Tax revenues are up. If the trend continues, the state could have $501 million more than what was available last year, The Oklahoman reported, but state finance officials warned that economic volatility around the world could change their projections.
The Office of State Finance prepares an estimation of money available to legislators, which will be presented to the Board of Equalization on Dec. 1. Gov. Mary Fallin will use the board’s estimation for her executive budget, which she presents to lawmakers on the first day of the legislative session in early February.
The Board of Equalization will meet again in February to certify the amount of funds available for the FY 2013 budget.
“We’re going to have close to $600 million worth of holes to fill,” said House Appropriations and Budget Committee Chairman Earl Sears, according to The Oklahoman. “That is why we’re just basically looking at and building toward a flat budget.”
We’re having a good recovery; I just wish it was a faster recovery,” Sears told the paper.