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Oklahoma legislators, governor reach $6.7 billion budget deal

Oklahoma legislators, governor reach $6.7 billion budget deal

Published: May 21, 2010

Legislators are scheduled to vote today on a budget bill that would fund state government for the upcoming 2011 fiscal year based on an agreement announced Thursday by the Democratic governor and Republican legislative leaders.

• Common education: $2.375 billion; 2.9 percent decrease

• Higher education: $1 billion; 3.3 percent decrease

• CareerTech: $141,977; 2.9 percent decrease

• Health Department: $63.7 million; 7.5 percent decrease

• Oklahoma Health Care Authority: $963 million; 1.8 percent decrease

• Department of Human Services: $543 million; 4 percent increase

• Corrections: $462 million; 3 percent decrease

• Public safety: $88.4 million; 1 percent decrease

The $6.7 billion budget is dependent upon about $300 million in so-called revenue enhancements – including a stepped-up effort to use cameras on highways to nab uninsured motorists, which is expected to bring in $50 million, and encouraging residents to pay state sales tax on all Internet and catalog purchases, which is expected to bring in about $32 million.

The agreement, reached about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday and announced to lawmakers in closed meetings Thursday before details were released in the afternoon, erases a $1.2 billion projected deficit with $1.4 billion in available cash, raising money and invoking a moratorium on tax credits.

"Many agencies and programs will still feel the pain of the budget crunch, and that was unavoidable,” Gov. Brad Henry said. "But despite some bumps along the way, we were able to strike a bipartisan agreement that will help Oklahoma recover from these trying economic times.”

The deal calls for using about $540 million in federal stimulus funds, about $272 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund and raising about $180 million in various ways and diverting $150 million from investors to state funds through tax-credit moratoriums.... FULL ARTICLE

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