OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – State Senator Micheal Bergstrom indicated he was pleased and encouraged after the state Board of Equalization certified an estimate indicating lawmakers will have an extra $612 million to spend in the 2020 fiscal year, which begins July 1. The Adair Republican noted the actions taken at the Capitol the last two years have put the state in a much more stable positional financially going forward.
“Oklahoma’s economy is definitely recovering and our budget situation is far better today than it was the past few years. The Board of Equalization’s preliminary revenue certification which projects the legislature will have perhaps an additional $600 million in revenue than we had for the 2019 budget is a positive sign,” said Bergstrom. “However, we need to be cautiously optimistic. We’ve had to make tough choices the past couple years and we will have to make more this session. Many state agencies have not yet submitted their budget requests and those requests received already far exceed the $600 million mark. Additionally, we have outstanding obligations that must still be met, like bonded indebtedness and funding for teaching hospitals.”
Bergstrom pointed out that the economy is cyclical and that the national economy will eventually slide into recession again and says planning for the future now and not overcommitting will help the state avoid another budget shortfall like it has seen in recent years.
“Education remains a top priority for Senate Republicans. Our passage last session of the largest teacher pay raise in state history is evidence of that,” said Bergstrom. “We intend to build upon that huge investment this session, while at the same time striving to establish our priorities and commitments for the long term.”
The Board of Equalization will return in February to certify a final estimate on how much lawmakers will have to spend in the upcoming legislative session.