Oklahoma Republican Leaders Present $8.3B Budget Agreement

May 15, 2019

Credit Matt Trotter / KWGS

Oklahoma Republican leaders announced their budget agreement Wednesday after extensive negotiations.

"There will be no new taxes, we will put $200 million back in savings and we will increase the state’s investment in core services by another 5%," said Gov. Kevin Stitt.

The $8.3 billion spending plan will pay for $1,200 teacher pay raises and put more than $74 million in new funding into K–12 classrooms. Education spending was a main sticking point in negotiations between the governor and top Republicans in the legislature.

"This budget is strong on education. It gets more money into the classroom than we’ve been able to do in a long time. It funds criminal justice reform. It gets pay raises for state employees. And it delivers some reform," said Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat.

The budget also funds state employee raises up to $1,400 and correctional officer raises of $2 an hour, covers health care provider rate increases, and adds to a quick-action fund to help lure businesses to the state.

The agreement will also send $20 million in new state funding to district attorneys and fund a Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency.

"In my seventh year of service to the House and to the state legislature, this is the most comprehensive, strongest budget that I’ve seen, and I think it’s considerate of everybody in the state of Oklahoma," said House Speaker Charles McCall.

House Minority Leader Emily Virgin released a statement criticizing the Republican budget agreement and its plan to put more than one-third of additional state revenue for 2020 into savings.

"This is what a budget looks like when you decide taxpayer money is better suited to sit in a bank than be invested back into state resources like our children, state employees, and middle- and low-wage earners," Virgin said. "Our state agencies were brutally impacted by Republican cuts over the past decade. This budget fails to make these agencies, including the state department of education, whole."

An agency-by-agency breakdown of the budget has not been released, and it still must win approval in the House and Senate.

The $8.3 billion budget is the largest in state history in unadjusted dollars.

Note: The governor's office sent corrected figures on the budget after publication of this story. Those figures said state employee raises will be up to $1,400, and the story has been updated accordingly.