Oklahoma's 2019 Budget Comes up Almost $168 Million Short

Feb 20, 2018

Credit Matt Trotter / KWGS

The Oklahoma State Board of Equalization certified Tuesday a $6.18 billion budget for 2019.

That includes a nearly $167.8 million shortfall — down from holes of $1 billion two years ago and more than $800 million last year.

Gov. Mary Fallin said new revenue from higher taxes on some existing oil and gas wells and on car sales has helped.

"It’s helped close that gap, so it’s not as big as what we anticipated, but we also have a large amount of obligations that are due now," Fallin said.

New obligations are the major cause of 2019’s shortfall. They include $110 million for the state’s medical schools and $93 million for growing property tax reimbursements to counties.

Fallin said she’s not optimistic lawmakers will find new revenue for the new fiscal year.

"Given 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 said.

Without new revenue, the shortfall could mean an across-the-board 2.5 percent cut to state agencies in 2019.

That news comes as the state still works to fill a $214 million hole in the current year budget. Fallin said she’ll sign a special session measure to cut state spending $45 million this year if the Senate sends it to her desk.

"We’re well over the time period when that budget should’ve been closed out and the fiscal year ended at the end of June, so I think it’s time to close it out, move on into FY19’s budget, finish the legislative session, balance the books," Fallin said.

The Oklahoma Senate is expected to take up the measure Wednesday.