Conservative Index Add
pagetitle

Saturday, June 24th, 2017Last Update: Thursday, May 4th, 2017 02:03:55 PM

Governor Decides Against Special Legislative Session

By: Constitution Staff

Gov. Mary Fallin announced on September 1that she had decided not to call a special legislative session. Fallin had previously floated the idea to reallocate $140.8 million in funds that were held back from agency budgets, with most of the money going to increase teacher salaries. But, House Speaker Jeff Hickman and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman said there was not support for the special session and that both legislators and their constituents believed the money should be returned to agencies.

The funds were cut from agencies during last fiscal year’s revenue failure. In order to maintain the state’s constitutional balanced budget requirement, state law requires across-the-board reductions to most agency appropriations when revenue collections are projected to fall more than five percent below the estimate for the remainder of a fiscal year. The state fiscal year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30. Amid slumping oil prices and corresponding state revenue declines, applicable Fiscal Year 2016 agency allocations were cut across the board by 7 percent, or $382 million, via reductions in January and March.

The money being returned became available with the final reconciliation of the state Fiscal Year 2016 which ended June 30. The reconciliation confirmed that the actual midyear reduction amount only needed to be 4.4 percent rather than 7 percent. In addition to the $140.8 million in general revenue going to 62 agencies, another $11.4 million in other revenues will go to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. So, the state is actually returning a total of $152.1 million to agency budgets.

“This action closes out the 2016 fiscal year and gives agencies available funds to help with budget challenges,” said Gov. Mary Fallin. “Although I preferred that legislators would have returned in special session to send more of this money to agencies with the most pressing needs, such as the education, public safety, health, mental health and corrections departments, I’m glad this will provide some relief. Those agencies are among the ones receiving the largest share of this money to either restore services or stave off additional cuts.”

Agencies can use the funds for the same purpose for which the Legislature appropriated the funds in the 2015 legislative session. If an agency wants to use the funds for another purpose, it must follow budget revision procedures outlined in statute.

“The return of these funds, while still a net cut, is a rare positive in the historically challenging budget cycle the state is enduring. Agencies are getting about $2.60 back for every $7 that was cut midyear, so the net result is still a cut, but a smaller cut than initially received,” said Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) Director Preston Doerflinger. “Opting for a deeper cut was the right call because it allowed funds to be returned instead of cutting funds again and again, which would have happened if the cut was not deep enough. Revenue failures are unpleasant no matter how you slice it, but if there is any silver lining to be found, this is it.”

The four agencies receiving the largest distributions are the state Department of Education, $40.2 million; Oklahoma Health Care Authority, $23.5 million; Higher Education, $20.7 million; and Oklahoma Department of Human Services, $16.1 million.

Other Stories From Fall 2016 Issue

The Federal Page for Fall 2016

Theodore King
Ratings, Ratings, RatingsFreedomWorks is an organization that promotes limited government and ra...

Repeal of Blaine Amendment is a Band-Aid Approach

Steve Byas
Quote: No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated, or used,...

Giving Away Absolute Power For One Year

Rep. Jason Murphey
Many taxpayers believe the Legislature operates as described in American Government class. They...

Open the Governments Closed Doors

John Michener
Our Government has been stolen. You and I do not have representation at the Oklahoma Capitol, only...

Solving School Funding and Overcrowding Problems

Charlie Meadows
Solving School Funding and Overcrowding Problems...

Oklahomans (still) Support Parental Choice in Education

Brandon Dutcher
An honest reading of the public-opinion survey data over the past couple of years shows that...

Reconsidering the Elephants Cage

Andrew K. Boyle
Its election season, which in this writers experience means the worst of us is front page news. In...

Fall 2016 Letters to Editor

Constitution Staff
Too Much AnonymousOne of the things that serves to get my goat is the tendency of so many...

Fall 2016

Constitution Staff
State Auditor Being EvictedState Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones says his office was informe...

Governor Decides Against Special Legislative Session

Constitution Staff
Gov. Mary Fallin announced on September 1that she had decided not to call a special legislative...

Oklahoma Legislative Races

Constitution Staff
A large number of legislators were not able to run for reelection this year due to term-limits....

Statewide Races and Congressional Seats on Ballot

Constitution Staff
Oklahoma voters in presidential election years see what is known as the short ballot. In the...

Voters to Consider State Questions

Constitution Staff
Voters will find seven state questions on the November ballot. Three of the measures SQ 779, 780...

Pruitt Fails to Stop Internet Surrender

Constitution Staff
Federal Judge George Hanks of Galveston, Texas, an Obama appointee, denied a September 30 request by...

In The News

Constitution Staff

Gov. Fallin Signs REAL ID Compliance Bill
On March 2, Governor Mary Fallin signed House Bill 1845, the REAL ID compliance legislation. The new...

Constitution Staff

Legislature Loses Conservative Champion in David Brumbaugh
Oklahomans are mourning the passing of State Rep. David Brumbuagh (R-Broken Arrow), one of the great...

Constitution Staff

Special Elections to Fill Legislative Seats
Special Elections to fill vacancies in the Oklahoma Legislature are in progress. The vacancies are...

Constitution Staff

2018 Race for Governor
Gov. Mary Fallin, who is now entering the final two years of her second term, is prohibited by term...

Constitution Staff

Bills Move Through Oklahoma Legislature
With the close of the legislative session approaching on May 26, various bills are being considered...

Constitution Columnists

Bill Graves

Historical and Theological Foundations of Law
Noted Constitutional authority John Eidsmoe has written a legal classic on the origins and...

Theodore King

Federal Page for Spring 2017
Mullin Prepares to Break His Three-terms Pledge In 2012, Markwayne Mullin was the best speaker of...

Steve Byas

Cole, Inhofe, Lankford, Russell, Wrong on Syria
It was quite discouraging. Following the decision by President Trump to bomb a country Syria that...

© 2001 - 2009 The Oklahoma Constitution, all rights reserved.
Contact the Oklahoma Constitution by calling 405-366-1125 or emailing okconsti@aol.com
Content Management System (CMS) provided by WebTeks2010.com - Guthrie, Oklahoma.