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Republican Leaders Announce $7.8B Budget Agreement Between Oklahoma House, Senate


Oklahoma House and Senate Republican leaders presented on Monday a $7.8 billion budget agreement.

Their spending plan is only about $400 million than the current fiscal year's after the State Board of Equalization estimated a $1.3 billion shortfall last month.

House Speaker Charles McCall said lawmakers turned to one-time spending, reserve funds and off-the-top dollars to close the gap, and they plan to cut most agency budgets 4%.

"The legislature feels like it’s its duty to stabilize the fiscal picture of the state of Oklahoma to the best of its ability, and that is what is conveyed in this budget," McCall said.

The state will cut K–12 education funding 2.5%, but lawmakers said it will come out ahead with federal relief funds factored in.

The budget also increases a fee paid by some hospitals to cover most of Oklahoma’s projected annual cost for Medicaid expansion.

House Minority Leader Emily Virgin called the budget "one of the most disappointing" she's seen as a legislator and said the governor used a revenue model lawmakers have not seen.

"Oklahomans shouldn’t suffer because of political power struggles between the legislature and the governor. This governor likes to remind people why Oklahomans elected him. I can say with some certainty that they didn’t elect him to cut government when he could prevent it," Virgin said in a statement.

Additional state budget coverage can be found at NonDoc.

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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