State Budgets 2012: Oklahoma



To see more state budget news and information, visit State Budgets 2012

Budget Background:

  • Fiscal Year Begins: July 
  • Frequency of Legislative Cycle: Annual
  • Legislative Session for 2012: Convened February 6, 2012, Adjourned May 25, 2012
  • Frequency of Budget Cycle: Annual

Learn more from the National Association of State Budget Officers

Budget News and Information: 2012

2/5/12: Session Opens, GOP Plans to Stay the Course

The Oklahoma Legislature returns with the task of rebuilding the state economy."This Legislature committed itself to building a pro-growth Oklahoma and will remain focused on that mission this session," said Speaker of the House Kris Steele, R-Shawnee. "From a policy standpoint, what we're doing is working. Oklahoma's economy is growing, more than 38,000 jobs have been added in the past year and unemployment remains among the lowest in the nation."
Read More: Tulsa World
3/1/2012: House Committee Approves Governor's Income Tax Reduction Plan
Governor Mary Fallin's personal income tax reduction plan was approved by a committee vote on Wednesday and it now heads to the full House for consideration. Some observers project that the proposal will face stiff opposition as it moves forward as it cuts the top personal income tax rate by half.
Read More: The Oklahoman
3/12/2012: Lawmakers Still Pushing for Online Sales Tax Bill
Although their legislation was recently defeated, a group of Oklahoma lawmakers intend to keep pushing for the passage of an online sales tax collection bill. Most retail purchases in Oklahoma are subject to sales taxes. Under federal law, online purchases are subject to sales taxes, which are collected by the retailer, if the seller has a presence, such as a store or a warehouse, in the state. If the retailer doesn't have an Oklahoma presence, the sale is subject to the use tax, which is the same amount of taxation but is self-collected by the buyer and submitted to the state. 
Read More: Tulsa World
3/21/2012: Measure to Reduce Property Tax for Older Homeowners Advances

The Oklahoma Senate Finance Committee approved legislation to increase the allowable income levels for older homeowners that wish to cap their property value. Currently, assessed valuations for homeowners 65 or older who earn the median income or less in their counties can opt to have the valuation frozen. Under the Senate bill, that cap was raised to 125 percent of median income levels. If approved by the Legislature, the measure would go to the November ballot for voters to decide.

Read More: Tulsa World

3/29/2012: State Legislator Predicts Difficult Path for Large Personal Income Tax Cuts
Representative David Dank was featured prominently in an article in The Oklahoman observing that cutting the state's personal income tax by more than 2% from the current rate of 5.25% will be difficult in the current legislative session. Governor Fallin and others in the OK State House have pushed for a lower rate of 3.5% or lower.
Read More: The Oklahoman
4/4/2012: University Finds Revenue Collection Slashed by State Tax Law, Consumer Spending Habits
Economists from the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University recently issued a study that shows cuts in the state income tax, motor vehicles tax and rise of Internet sales in recent years have reduced state tax collections by up to $1.9 billion a year.
Read More: The Oklahoman
4/13/2012: State Agency Touts Substantial IT Savings 
The State's Chief Information Office, Alex Pettit, told a House panel that previous estimates of IT savings could be substantially higher than previous estimates. He observed that changing vendor policy for purchasing anti-virus software has saved the State over $1 million per year.
Read More: The Oklahoman
4/20/2012: Low Natural Gas Prices Could Negatively Impact State's FY 2013 Budget
The President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma State Senate, Brian Bingman, shared his concern that historically low natural gas prices could have serious implications for next year's budget. If natural gas prices drop below a monthly average of $2.10 per 1,000 cubic feet, the state's gross production tax drops to 4 percent from 7 percent. Natural gas recently prices closed at a $1.90 per 1,000 cubic feet, which could cost the state millions in funding.
Read More: Tulsa World
4/26/2012: Governor Applauds Senate Income Tax Cut Vote
Governor Mary Fallin touted the state Senate’s passage of legislation that reduces the top income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 3.5 percent. According to a fiscal impact statement prepared last March, the projected revenue decrease for the measure is $382.7 million for fiscal year 2013 and $980.2 million for FY2014.
Read More: Edmond Sun
5/4/2012: House and Senate Close to Budget Agreement
Senate Majority Leader, Mike Schulz, announced that the OK House and Senate were very close to reaching an agreement on the FY 2013 Budget. There is still difficulty in determining the size and scope of proposed income tax cuts because of declining natural gas prices and its impact on revenue, as well as little progress on identifying tax deductions and loopholes to help raise revenue for offsets.
Read More: Tulsa World
5/11/2012: Governor Makes Push to Lower State Income Taxes
Governor Mary Fallin reiterated her call for the legislature to enact significant cuts to the state personal income tax rate to keep up with neighboring Kansas. Lawmakers must approve a budget for the 2013 fiscal year, which begins July 1, by May 25. Deciding whether to cut the personal income tax rate will be a key part of the final $6.6 billion budget package.
Read More: The Oklahoman
5/21/2012: Governor and Lawmakers Reach Tentative Budget Deal
House Speaker Kris Steele announced that he reached a tentative agreement on next year's budget with Governor Fallin. However, he noted that the $6.6 billion budget deal needed time to be reviewed by the rest of the House members before any final conclusions could be drawn.  Among the many issues that still need to be resolved are bonding issues for several infrastructure projects and a renovation to the state capital building. The session's deadline for adjournment is May 25.
5/25/2012: Legislature Adjourns Without Reaching Consensus on Income Tax Cuts
Oklahoma lawmakers adjourned on May 25 without striking an agreement on Governor Mary Fallin's most important priority - reducing the state's top income tax rate from 5.25% to 3.5%. Governor Fallin has made the tax cut a key part of her economic agenda to keep up with neighboring states like Texas (which has no income tax) and Kansas (which just recently passed legislation to reduce their income tax rates). The legislature also passed a $6.8 billion budget that provided a 3% increase in spending that left most agencies with flat funding, while directing plus-ups to education, healthcare, and transportation budgets.
Read More: KFOX 14 News

Budget News and Information: Previous Budget Cycles

6/4/11: Rep. Sears satisfied with the budget work

State Rep. Earl Sears (R-Bartlesville) highlighted several items on Oklahoma’s budget outline for the upcoming fiscal year at Arvest Bank’s financial forum on Friday.

Sears, who serves as chairman of the House Appropriations and Budget committees, provided a brief overview of the state’s annual budget of $6.5 billion for various state agencies and departments during the 2012 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Read more: Examiner-Enterprise

5/26/11: Senate finishes work; Passes state budget

Facing a $500million shortfall, lawmakers in Oklahoma passed a budget for the FY12 year. Cuts to spending in education, veterans' affairs and health departments were made to balance the budget. But the legislature also passed bills to reform spending in the areas of lawsuits and workers' compensation cases. Several bills cap the amount of damages paid in suits.

Read more: The Daily Times

5/22/11: Significant cuts expected for Oklahoma state agencies

During budget discussions, the Oklahoma legislature is expecting to cut $238million for the next fiscal year. The largest expected cut will be to the Transportation Department at 7 percent of the budget or $114.8 million. However, this may be offset by a $70 million bond issue for road and bridge updates

Read more: NewsOK

5/13/11: State Lawmakers reach agreement on FY12 budget

Both the House and Senate budget committees have approved general appropriations to be approved by the full House and Senate.

Read more: Forbes

4/26/11: State Pension Mandates are the latest topic of debate in Oklahoma's 2012 budget

Oklahoma's current unfunded pension liability stands at $16.5billion. State Treasurer Miller will be making recommendations this week about the mandate and the financial liabilities.

Read more: NewsOK

1/16/11: Estimates of Oklahoma's 2012 budget shortfall range from $224 million to $600 million

Estimates on the size of the budget hole for the 2012 fiscal year vary, ranging from $224 million to about $600 million.

Read more: Tulsa World