Revenue failure declared for Oklahoma for second straight year

(AP) -- A state panel has certified the Oklahoma Legislature will have $878 million less to spend on the budget for the upcoming fiscal year and that additional cuts must be ordered for the current year.

Collections to the state's general fund fell well short of projections. That means finance officials will order across-the-board cuts to all state agencies, including public schools.

The shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year beginning July 1 means the Legislature will have about 13 percent less to dole out to state agencies than they spent last year.

Oklahoma's Board of Equalization confirmed both shortfalls during its regular meeting Tuesday.

It's the third consecutive year with a budget shortfall and the second straight for a revenue failure. A revenue failure is declared when collections fall more than 5 percent below estimates.

Oklahoma's finance director says he plans to order cuts totaling $34.6 million to all state-appropriated state agencies beginning next month because of lagging revenues.

Public schools will receive the largest cut of about $11.1 million. Cuts to colleges and universities and to the Health Care Authority will total about $4.6 million each.

Doerflinger says the cuts will be spread out evenly over all state agencies that receive funding from the General Revenue Fund, beginning with March allocations. The cuts will continue until the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

Gov. Mary Fallin says she would be willing to veto a general appropriations bill approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature if it doesn't include some investment in state services.

Fallin said Tuesday that she is not willing to cut close to $900 million from state services like public schools, child welfare, health care and state prisons.

Fallin made the comments after the State Board of Equalization determined the Legislature will have about $878 million less to spend this year, which is about 13 percent less than they appropriated last year.

Fallin has proposed several tax increases to help close the budget gap, including taxes on cigarettes, motor fuel, and broadening the sales tax to a variety of services. She also proposed eliminating the corporate income tax and the groceries tax.

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