MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

January 14, 2014

State finance chief warns of flat, reduced budgets

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — With collections to Oklahoma’s general revenue fund continuing to trail projections last month, state agency leaders should prepare for flat or even reduced budgets next year, Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger said on Tuesday.

Figures released Tuesday by Doerflinger’s office show collections to the state’s main operating fund for the first six months of the fiscal year trailed the official estimate by nearly 7 percent. Collections to the fund also trailed those from the same time last year by about 1.5 percent.

“Every state agency needs a plan for flat appropriations and a plan for reduced appropriations, as both scenarios grow more likely by the day,” Doerflinger said in a statement.

The general revenue fund is the primary source of revenue for the Legislature to spend. Although overall collections to the state treasury have been improving, collections to the fund have been declining in recent years because of an increasing percentage of revenue dedicated off the top for various purposes.

While Doerflinger said agencies are expected to make it through the current fiscal year that ends July 1 without mandatory cuts, lawmakers are expected to have about $170 million less to spend on state programs for next fiscal year’s budget, prompting the warning to agency directors.

He described next year’s budget as “tight, but manageable.”

General revenue fund collections for the first six months of the current fiscal year totaled $2.6 billion, which is 1.5 percent less than the same time last year, and 6.7 percent less than the official revenue estimate upon which the appropriated state budget is based.

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