Oklahoma Senate Republican leadership commented Friday on the state Board of Equalization’s preliminary revenue certification.
“Overall, we are cautiously optimistic about the revenue outlook for next year. While there is concern in the decline in gross production taxes collected on natural gas, other sectors of the economy are performing well and helping to fill in that revenue gap. Additionally, steps taken by the Legislature in recent years to shore up our financial standing are working. The Senate will resume its work on budget hearings and examining agency budget requests as we await the final certification numbers due in February upon which the Legislature will write the budget,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City.
The Board of Equalization certified more than $8.3 billion for Fiscal Year 2021, a $9.4 million (0.1 percent) increase from Fiscal Year 2020.
“Any growth in a budget is good, but we have to be cautious in our outlook and continue to monitor economic conditions as we prepare the budget. And before the first drop of ink is spilled in writing the state budget, we already have nearly $200 million in obligations for things like the ad valorem reimbursements to schools, the bond debt on the Capitol, and increased costs for teacher health care benefits. The Senate appropriators have already held budget hearings, and we’ll keep doing our work and crunching the numbers to ensure we maximize every tax dollar as we write next year’s budget,” said Senator Roger Thompson, R-Okemah and Senate Appropriations Committee chair.
The state Board of Equalization was established in 1907 in the state Constitution. The board issues an official estimate of the revenue available for the Oklahoma Legislature to spend in the coming budget year. The board members include the governor, lieutenant governor, state auditor and inspector, state treasurer, attorney general, superintendent of public instruction, and the president of the board of agriculture.The board will meet again in February to issue the final revenue certification upon which the Legislature will write the next budget.