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Budget outlook for 2011 remains bleak

Budget outlook for 2011 remains bleak

www.miamiherald.cok                                  

BY SEAN MURPHY
]ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

Posted on Sunday, March 7, 2010

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Despite a last-minute maneuver by Senate Democrats that threatened to derail a plan to plug a massive hole in Oklahoma's budget this year, an agreement was worked out that sent the budget bills to Gov. Brad Henry, who signed the package late last week.

Now, an even more daunting task begins for state leaders, who must craft a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 with about $1.2 billion less to spend than last year.

Without any new sources of revenue, House Speaker Chris Benge said last week, agency budgets would have to be slashed in the neighborhood of 10 percent across the board to cover that gaping hole, even after using federal stimulus money and $223 million from the state's Rainy Day Fund.

"If we use all those reserves, we are still facing a 10 percent cut for everyone, every agency," said Benge, R-Tulsa. "I say that to show how daunting the task is that we have before us."... FULL ARTICLE


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