Oklahoma lawmakers are facing another shortfall for 2019, but it's not expected to be as bad as past years.
The Equalization Board approved a budget with a shortfall of $167 million for lawmakers to allocate for the next fiscal year to start on July 1st.
Meanwhile, Governor Mary Fallin says she plans to sign a 2018 budget bill which includes $45 million in cuts to state agencies, because she says it’s time to close out this year’s budget.
“We’re well over the time period when that budget should have been closed out and the fiscal year ended at the end of June, so I think it’s time to close it out and move on to FY ‘19’s budget, finish the legislative session, balance the book.”
Fallin says while the shortfall isn’t as bad as past years, there are still state agencies which are suffering.
She says she’s not very optimistic lawmakers are going to be able to add new revenue for the next fiscal year which starts July 1st.
“Given that it’s an election year, and we’ve tried. We’re in our 54th week of talking about new revenue for the state of Oklahoma to help pay for teacher pay raises, to be able to close some of the budget gaps, to be able to pay for important needs like corrections, mental health.”
Fallin says state agencies next year could see cuts of two and a half percent, but could be greater if lawmakers decide to hold some areas harmless.
The Senate is expected to vote on Wednesday for the bill cutting agency budgets for the rest of this fiscal year.