Oklahoma’s total fiscal year 2022 budget has grown by more than $1 billion.
The State Board of Equalization on Tuesday approved a total appropriations authority of $9.6 billion. That includes $1.7 billion in non-recurring revenue, which Gov. Kevin Stitt wants to use to replenish state savings accounts and invest in infrastructure projects.
Economic conditions are looking better than they did at the board’s December meeting, including when it comes to employment.
"Sector recoveries are mixed. Like, oil and gas is a little bit down. It’s recovering very sluggishly. Same with manufacturing, restaurants and bars, but overall, we’re seeing employment improving through FY21 and FY22," said Office of Management and Enterprise Services budget analyst John Gilbert.
Since the State Board of Equalization’s last meeting, Congress passed a $900 billion stimulus package, the state started vaccinating people against COVID-19 at a good clip and the oil price outlook saw modest gains. Gilbert said those are the driving forces in a 6.8% increase in general revenue projections.
"Most of that’s being driven by individual income tax, corporate tax and sales tax, our little bump in oil prices. So, the economic improvement due to stimulus and an economy improving are driving that $414.4 million," Gilbert said.
OMES also increased its prior year cash projection $617 million.
Lawmakers will be limited to appropriating $7.9 billion for state agencies. House Appropriations and Budget Chair Kevin Wallace (R-Wellston) in a statement said based on Tuesday’s certification, lawmakers could replenish reserves and "consider tax relief."