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With Bills on His Desk, Stitt Says Officials 'in the Middle of Negotiations' over $416.8M Shortfall

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Matt Trotter
/
KWGS

It remains to be seen what Gov. Kevin Stitt will do with bills to tap Oklahoma’s reserve funds and cover a projected $416.8 million budget gap this fiscal year.

Those bills keep state agency budgets from being slashed but block money from going to Stitt’s Digital Transformation Fund. One bill moves $302.3 million from the Rainy Day Fund to the general revenue fund for appropriation.

The other bills move $201.6 million from the Rainy Day Fund to the Revenue Stabilization Fund and authorize spending up to half the stabilization fund's balance.

Stitt canceled a State Board of Equalization meeting Tuesday where officials would have declared a revenue failure, the step needed to move money from the state Rainy Day Fund to the general revenue fund.

"When there’s just one agency that was singled out to be cut, that was part of our reasoning. And so, we’re back at the drawing board, and every option’s on the table, but until we have that BOE meeting, you can’t grab the $300 million out of the savings account," Stitt said.

Stitt now says cuts of 1% to 2% are reasonable. He has not taken action on the legislation lawmakers sent him this week and could veto it.

"We had overwhelming votes in both chambers to pass these, so I think we’d have the ability to override but hopefully that doesn’t have to come to that," said Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat.

"The position the Legislature stated by veto-proof majorities Monday is not changing," House Speaker Charles McCall said in a statement.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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