OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin signed House Bill (HB) 1020XX, the Fiscal Year 2018 budget bill, into law. The $6.98 billion budget covers the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.
The measure cuts state spending by about $44.7 million and requires every state agency to cut about two percent from their budgets over the next four months. It is the result of two special sessions that Fallin convened after three health-related agencies were plunged into a $214 million budget shortfall last August when a proposed smoking cessation fee was struck down by the state Supreme Court.
Fallin urged lawmakers to pass revenue and reform measures to make up the funding gap. However, members in the House of Representatives failed to muster the required three-fourths majority necessary for certain revenue measures.
“Most House Democrats chose politics over people by refusing to vote for the budget package,” said Fallin. “Their no votes resulted in votes against a teacher pay raise, funding our health and human services and protecting our most vulnerable citizens, and against putting our state on a stable budget path forward. Unfortunately, House Democrats kept moving the goalposts and the people of Oklahoma are the ones who lost.
“Developing a budget in this difficult fiscal and political climate is never easy. This budget keeps our government operating and, despite challenging circumstances, funds our core mission services. Passage of the Step Up Oklahoma plan, House Bill 1033XX that failed earlier this month would have helped fill our budget hole for the current fiscal year as well as put Oklahoma on a more stable budget path.”
The governor also signed HB 1021XX, which states legislative intent that a number of social service programs, mainly for the elderly and disabled, be kept at their original budgetary levels.