Oklahoma's Money Woes

Oklahoma City, OK – Energy industry still keys Oklahoma economy

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) The latest revenue shortfall in Oklahoma is another reminder that despite efforts to diversify the state's economy in recent years, its financial fortunes still rise and fall with those of the energy industry.

More than 25 years after the famed oil bust devastated the Oklahoma economy, the culprit this time is stagnant natural gas prices, which have dropped well below $3 per 1,000 cubic feet, the lowest since 2002.

In announcing the shortfall last week, State Treasurer Scott Meacham noted that gross production taxes on natural gas in July had declined more than 75 percent from July 2008 to just over $22 million.

State financial officials ordered a 5 percent across-the-board cut in budget allocations to state agencies after Meacham declared the revenue shortfall.