Oklahoma state budget (2012-2013)

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On May 21, 2012, lawmakers and the governor reached a deal on the $6.8 fiscal year 2013 budget.[1] The governor signed the budget into law on May 29, 2012.[2] The budget can be found accessed here.

The fiscal year 2013 state budget spent three percent more than the fiscal year 2012 state budget did.[2]

Higher education

Higher education funding accounted for 14.8 percent of the state's budget for fiscal year 2013, down from 18.6 percent of the budget in fiscal year 1980.[3]

K-12 education

Per pupil spending for K-12 education in the state decreased $706 between fiscal years 2008 and 2013, a drop of 20.3 percent.[4]

Rainy day fund

The budget provided for the state to deposit $340 million into its rainy day fund if revenue estimates on which the budget was based held. The deposit would bring the fund's total to nearly $690 million.[5]

Human services

One of the increases in the budget was an additional $50 million to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services to bolster child-welfare services as a result of the settlement of a lawsuit over the care of children in its custody.[2]

State Treasurer Ken Miller said on November 3, 2011, that, despite rising state revenues, legislators faced challenges in drafting the fiscal year 2013 budget. Those challenges included dealing with one-time funds used to plug holes in the fiscal year 2012 budget and the expiration of some tax credits.[6] Then in December 2011, state Finance Director Preston Doerflinger said that lawmakers should have $6.5 billion available for the fiscal year 2013 budget.

Legislative proposed budget

The budget spent approximately $200 million more than legislators were told in February by budget officials that they would have available to spend as a result of federal funds and extra available cash. The budget for fiscal year 2013 was 3.2 percent more than the fiscal year 2012 budget of $6.6 billion.[1]

The budget kept spending for most agencies the same as fiscal year 2012, with the exception of human services and education, which saw increases.[1] Increases included:

  • State education department: $52.4 million;
  • CareerTech: $1.4 million for operations;
  • Higher education: $10 million for operations; and
  • Transportation: $99 million to repay a transfer of funds.[1]

Governor's proposed budget

Gov. Mary Fallin explained that although the state had seen an increase in revenues, she expected that the fiscal year 2013 budget would be relatively flat budget because the state needed to make up for the loss of one-time funds, including those from the federal government. The budget estimate included the loss of $36 million for fiscal year 2013 when a dozen tax credits that were suspended the past two years were expected to resume July 1. Also, the state had to repay $50 million a year in energy rebates that were not paid out the preceding two years to oil and natural gas companies to help Oklahoma get through its budget crisis. The estimates also included the loss of about $70 million in revenue when the state personal income tax's top rate dropped from 5.5 to 5.25 percent, effective January 1.[7]

Gov. Fallin presented her proposed state budget to the legislature when it began its session on February 6, 2011. Gov. Fallin's proposed budget can be accessed here.

Spending

The governor's proposed budget spent nearly $6.6 billion, up $124.7 million from the $6.5 billion fiscal year 2012 budget. Most agency budgets were set to remain the same as the prior fiscal year. Under the budget, the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services budget would increase $143 million, a 76.4 percent increase, and the Oklahoma Healthcare Authority's budget would decrease by $146.7 million, almost 15 percent.[8]

Income tax cuts

Fallin proposed reducing state income tax rates, including reducing the highest rate of 5.25 percent down to 3.5 percent and reducing the income tax brackets, from seven down to three. Personal income taxes brought in about one-third of the state's legislative-appropriated budget. The governor said that she would pay for the tax reduction by eliminating tax loopholes, carve-outs and other exceptions, but did not specify which ones.[9]

References