Nearly $10 Billion state budget proposal revealed

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The state’s budget for the next fiscal year was revealed to state legislators and the general public on Tuesday.

The budget for the upcoming fiscal year beginning July 1 will be around $9.8 Billion with education spending the largest category getting most of the funds.

Instead of a grocery sales tax repeal, lawmakers have agreed to give a one-time refund check to taxpayers to help offset inflation.

If approved by lawmakers, single Oklahoma taxpayers will be sent a one-time $75 check, and married couples will receive a one-time $150 check.

The budget also includes numerous pay raises for multiple state employees who have reported they are being lured away from stage agencies for better paying jobs, sometimes in another state agency.

Democrats argued that with such a large surplus, more money should’ve been given to common education, but State Senator Roger Thompson (R-Okemah), Senate Appropriations chairman, said the state needs to continue to get the Rainy Day Fund ready for another economic downturn with the current economic environment and reports of a possible recession on the horizon.

In a separate bill that accompanied the budget, The LEAD Act, a $698 million account is being funded to lure in a Fortune 500 company to Oklahoma with tax rebates, and budget leaders in the State House assured colleagues that no agency saw their budgets cut as a result of the new separate fund outside of the general revenue fund getting the money.

Both State House and State Senate budget committees approved identical bills, and they will now go to the floor of each chamber for consideration before headed to Governor Kevin Stitt’s desk.

Working on the state budget is the only thing lawmakers are required to pass when the legislature convenes each year, but it is often one of the last things to be considered before things are adjourned at the end of May.