OKLAHOMA CITY (April 20, 2020) – The Board of Equalization declared a $416,883,273 revenue failure for Fiscal 2020 in a virtual meeting held Monday afternoon.
Declaring a revenue failure allows the Legislature to access money from savings to fill the gap in the FY2020 budget.
During the meeting, Oklahoma Tax Commission Executive Director Jay Doyle presented an updated look at how COVID-19 and the downturn in oil and gas are affecting revenue forecasts for Fiscal 2021, which begins July 1.
While the Board of Equalization’s February report provided $8.244 billion of spending authority for the Legislature, the latest projection shows just $6.878 billion available, a difference of $1.366 billion.
The Board of Equalization is not statutorily allowed to revise its February figure for the FY21 budget, but Governor Kevin Stitt gave an update on Oklahoma’s financial future following the meeting.
“I want Oklahomans to know that the Legislature will need to be fiscally conservative when it writes the FY21 budget,” said Gov. Stitt. “Even if we took our savings account down to zero, we would still have 7.5% less to spend than in FY20, and we’ll likely have another significant drop for FY22.” These are difficult times for people across our state, and I want the Legislature and Oklahomans to have the latest information as we work on next year’s budget.”
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister says she is grateful state agency budgets will remain harmless the remainder of the current fiscal year.
“This stability will enable schools to begin preparing for rough roads ahead next fiscal year and beyond. Now more than ever, we must have the ability to ensure every student in every district across the state has the tools to bridge the digital divide. We must act strategically with federal relief funds and state resources to not only mitigate learning losses but to equip students to thrive regardless of external circumstances beyond their control.”
House Minority Leader Emily Virgin (D-Norman) says the oil market and COVID-19 are playing a factor.
“The uncertainty in the oil market and our future with COVID-19 makes this a difficult time for a lot of Oklahomans,” Virgin said. “These numbers reflect the lives and livelihoods of many Oklahomans. As this unfolds, our caucus feels a deep responsibility to protect government services that will be vital to supporting our constituents.”