Cuts Will Continue Even if Budget is ‘Healthy,’ Senate Budget Leader Reaffirms

  • Joe Wertz

When lawmakers meet to start the legislative session Feb. 6, they will be facing a revenue gap.

State Sen. Clark Jolley, chairman of the senate appropriations committee, reiterated that point to the Edmond Sun, tempering somewhat the state treasurer’s optimistic tone.

“Despite what my good friend Ken Miller has been saying in the media, Oklahoma’s economy has not completely recovered and we are not completely out of the woods yet,” Jolley, R-Edmond, told reporter James Coburn.

The Legislature won’t know how much of a shortfall it faces until after the session starts, Jolley told the paper. Gov. Mary Fallin’s executive budget — which is given to the Legislature before the session starts — is based on a December revenue certification, but the final amount of funds available for appropriation won’t be known until another revenue certification in February, which comes after the session starts.

Even if tax revenues grow enough to fill most or all of the $150 million budget shortfall, there won’t be any across-the-board restoration of agency funding, Jolley said, echoing a point he made in a Jan. 6 Q&A with StateImpact Oklahoma.

“Even if the gap is covered, some agencies will still experience a cut in funding,” Jolley told us.

He told the Edmond Sun:

“These grandiose visions that agencies are going to get hundreds of millions of dollar more than they got last year, because we’re back healthy, or even $1 million more is probably not going to happen.”