Friday, May 20, 2022

House sends $9.7B state budget to Governor for signing

House Sends General Appropriations Bill to Governor

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 20th) – The Oklahoma House of Representatives today approved a general appropriations bill that includes funding of about $9.7 billion for state services for Fiscal Year 2023, which starts July 1.

Senate Bill 1040 now moves to the governor for his final action. The governor has until Thursday, May 26 at midnight to act on the bill.

House Appropriations & Budget Chair, Rep. Kevin Wallace, R-Wellston, said the bill includes historic savings deposits, money returned to taxpayers, continued record funding for education, pay increases for law enforcement, enough money to completely eliminate the developmentally disabled services waiting list, to continue fighting federal overreach, and to make generational investments in economic development.

"This is a solid, comprehensive budget that is the effort of nearly a year's worth of work held in numerous public meetings," Wallace said. "It generously funds public services important to all Oklahomans, including education, health and mental health care, transportation, law enforcement and public safety and many other areas as well as record amounts of investments in economic development. This is also a fiscally conservative budget that prepares us for any potential future economic downturn so that we can continue to fund core government services without the need for across-the-board cuts." 


Savings: Continuing a successful practice from recent years, the Legislature did not appropriate its full authority in order to reserve more funds for savings and avoid overspending. Thanks to this practice and state revenues, savings are projected to increase to $2.7 billion next year – the highest level in state history.

Inflation relief: To help Oklahomans offset historic inflation making everyday life more expensive, the budget returns $181 million to taxpayers in the form of one-time rebates of $75 for individuals and $150 for families, to be paid in December. It also makes vehicle purchases more affordable beginning July 1, 2022 by reinstating the 1.25% sales tax exemption on motor vehicle sales that was rescinded in 2017, returning an estimated $188 million to taxpayers.

Funding the police: The budget grants 30% pay raises to Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers, valued at $14.2 million, and Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agents, valued at $5.3 million. Department of Corrections and Pardon and Parole officers receive pay raises of 30% and 20%, respectively. Pay increases also are approved for law enforcement officers who work for the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department, the Attorney General's office, the Bureau of Narcotics, the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission and the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training. The budget also increases funding for law enforcement training and academies, fighting crimes against children and officer mental health support.

Fighting federal overreach: The budget continues an appropriation of $10 million to the Office of the Attorney General to fight federal overreach by asserting Oklahoma's powers as a state under the U.S. Constitution to overturn or block unconstitutional federal policies.

Developmentally disabled waiting list: For the first time in state history, sufficient funding to eliminate the developmentally disabled waiting list at the Department of Human Services is contained in the budget. The $32.5 million increase for the waiting list – the largest single-year increase in state history – will provide critical services to more than 5,100 developmentally disabled Oklahomans who have requested but are not yet receiving state services.

Economic development: The budget reserves nearly $1 billion for economic development contingent upon Oklahoma being awarded Project Ocean, which would receive nearly $698 million under the Large-scale Economic Activity Development Act (LEAD Act) while another $250 million would retrofit areas in Oklahoma such as industrial parks to help recruit similar economic development megaprojects in the future. The nearly $700 million that makes up the majority of these appropriations would come from FY22 general revenue cash surplus.


The FY 2023 legislatively-appropriated budget for state agencies is about $9.7 billion, which is 9.8%, or almost $869.5 million, more than FY 2022. The total includes, for the first time, an authorization of $401,906,190 for the Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System Dedicated Revenue Revolving Fund. While not new money, the authorization provides visibility and transparency to the budget, taking the total to $9.84 billion.

The largest area of the budget continues to be education, at $4.2 billion, or 44%. In the agreement, public K-12 schools continue to be funded at the highest level in state history, $3.2 billion, on top of billions of dollars in federal pandemic aid for schools and surging local property tax revenues in many school districts.

Higher education receives $873 million, including a $60.6 million, or 7%, state appropriation increase, the largest increase to colleges and universities in recent history.

Health and human services is the second largest area of investment, at $2.8 billion, or 29%, of the appropriated budget, followed by transportation at 8% and public safety at 7%.

The Attorney General's office was appropriated $5.3 million for human trafficking interdiction efforts.

An additional $5.3 million Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs to establish marijuana enforcement teams

The legislatively appropriated budget represents about a third of the total state operating budget, which also includes off-the-top tax apportionments to specific purposes, federal funding and more.


The legislatively appropriated budget takes months to prepare. It is based on input received throughout dozens of public legislative budget hearings from fall through spring, the governor's executive budget proposal introduced publicly during the State of the State speech at the beginning of session, hundreds of publicly-available agency budget requests, and the requests and input of all elected legislators, who each serve on standing budget committees and subcommittees.

The budget agreement is contained in Senate Bill 1040, the general appropriations bill, and several other House and Senate bills passed off the House floor this week.

A summary of the general appropriations bill is available here.


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