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Stitt Proposes $8.3B Budget For Fiscal Year 2022

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Gov. Kevin Stitt released his $8.3 billion spending plan Monday morning ahead of his state of the state address.

The flat budget was described as "very conservative" by the governor's staff because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor's office does, however, anticipate a slight increase in revenue estimates at the next State Board of Equalization meeting on Feb. 16.

Stitt's proposed budget puts back Rebuilding Oklahoma Access and Driver Safety and pension funds diverted to supplement education funding in fiscal year 2021. It also calls for depositing $300 million into the state's Revenue Stabilization Fund. The state has $171 million in that fund and $58 in its rainy day fund.

The executive budget also calls for increasing the Supplemental Hospital Offset Payment Program, or SHOPP, fee from 2.5% to 4% to cover $118 million of Oklahoma's anticipated $164 million in Medicaid expansion costs. Lawmakers would have to approve that increase. Another $15 million would come from cost savings found through "optimizations" at the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.

The Department of Commerce is in line for a more than $32 million increase. Stitt's budget includes a $20 million deposit to the Governor's Quick Action Closing Fund, and $15 million for funding business accelerator, along with proposing a statewide program to draw remote workers to Oklahoma. That does not have a set spending amount.

The governor's proposed budget cuts nearly $30 million from the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Officials said Monday they anticipate the reduction will be offset by more Oklahomans getting Medicaid coverage and receiving mental health services through that program.

Lawmakers will approve budget legislation over the course of the session. Last year, Stitt vetoed the general appropriations bill and three other budget-related measures. The Republican-controlled legislature overrode his vetoes.

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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