Leaders reach agreement on FY ’10 budget

NOTE: This joint press release came to CapitolBeatOK from legislative leaders and the governor at mid-afternoon on Tuesday, Jan. 27.

Gov. Brad Henry, House Speaker Chris Benge and Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee today announced that they have reached agreement on a plan to address the $1 billion shortfall in the current fiscal year budget.  

The governor and legislative leaders will use a combination of targeted cuts and reserve funds to balance the Fiscal Year 2010 budget. 

Under the proposal, the monthly allocation for state agencies will continue to be reduced by 10 percent for the rest of FY 2010 to reflect slumping revenue collections.

In an effort to protect some priority areas, a handful of agencies in education, health and public safety will subsequently receive additional appropriations to supplement their budgets this year and reduce their share of the overall reduction. Even with that action, every state agency will receive some level of targeted cut for the current fiscal year.

Because the level of cuts is not sufficient to fill the $1 billion shortfall, state leaders also agreed to use reserve dollars from the Rainy Day Fund and the state stimulus account to help balance the budget.

“By accessing reserve funds set aside for times of emergency, we are doing our best to protect priority areas such as education that are so critical to the state’s economic recovery,” said Gov. Henry. “Even with the use of those resources, however, we will still have to implement significant reductions to state programs, and unfortunately, Oklahomans will feel the pain of those cuts.

“Given the magnitude of the crisis we face, there really were no good options available to us.”