Tuesday, May 24, 2011

OK FY 2012 Budget

The budget for fiscal year 2012 is in excess of $6.5 billion dollars. The text if the 52 page bill can be found here.
The budget has just over $3.4 billion in total education (or about 52%), which includes Dept of Education, Higher Regents, Libraries, Educational TV and Arts Council. Of that amount $2.3 billion goes to the OK Department of Education for the support of public schools. This is approximately 4% less than 2011 budget or $138 million less in funding.
The Government and Transportation budget is just over $262 million which includes Office of Bond Advisor, Department of Central Services, OK Election board and the OK Department of Emergency Management to name a few. The Department of Transportation has the lion’s share of the appropriations in this category at just over $106 million or 40% of the amount allotted.
Next we see Public Health received $1.3 billion in appropriations. This represents about 20% of the total FY 2012 budget. The largest appropriation in this category is to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority at $983 million followed by the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services receiving $187 million.
The Human Services appropriations are next in the bill with an allotment just under $667 million. This goes to Department of Human Services, Juvenile Affairs, Indian Affairs and rehabilitative services. This represents a $56 million cut or about 8%.
The National Resources and Regulatory Services (which includes Department of Commerce, The Rural Economic Action Plan Fund, Department of Consumer Credit, and Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry) have been appropriated just over $143 million.
Public Safety has been appropriated $588 million for operations in fiscal year 2012. This group includes the OSBI and the Department of Public Safety to name a few.
Judiciary is the final group receiving $163 million in appropriations. This includes the Oklahoma Supreme Court, The Pardon and Parole Board, Attorney General’s Office and District Attorney’s Council.
This bill simply tells the sources ( such as General Revenue Fund, Special Cash Fund, and The Oklahoma Educational Lottery Trust fund) from which the appropriations will be made.
In a May 20 letter, Rep. James Lockhart of Heavener wrote of the budget "the Legislature has indebted the citizens of Oklahoma to the tune of $1.3 billion in bonds (borrowed money) that have not complied with the balanced budget requirement of the Constitution, nor been approved by a vote of the people.
"At this time our annual bond payment is in excess of $180 million a year. The amount we pay in interest alone is astronomical. These “borrow and spend” tactics are fiscally irresponsible and alarming in placing an albatross around the necks of future generations of Oklahomans.
"A myriad of bonds were proposed this year. One that received approval by both chambers is House Bill 2171, a $70 million, 15-year bond for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. This bond was initiated to help offset the $100 million swiped from the Transportation Department’s revolving fund in order to shore up some of the $500 million shortfall in this year’s budget.
What we owe in bonds at this point represents over 20% of our entire state budget of $6 billion for this fiscal year!"
The money Lockhart refers to being swiped is detailed in the Governor’s Executive Summary on the budget in February of this year. The summary states “One component of the FY-2012 budget is a transfer of $100 million from the State Transportation Fund to the Special Cash Fund for appropriation to other critical government services. The Department of Transportation will be given authorization to issue a bond through OCIA for $100 million.”
In an interview with CapitolBeatOK, Jonathan Small, fiscal analyst the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, stated "“Overall, it seems that this year, lawmakers tried to approach development of the appropriated budget in a more prioritized fashion. This explains why some agencies received cuts of 0.5%, while others received cuts of 9.0%.  Some would say this is a better way to approach budgeting, because it starts the process of trying to focus spending on core functions, and eliminate spending on non-core functions.”
Small continued, “There has been discussion of the cumulative effect of appropriated cuts to agency budgets the last 3 years, with some putting those figures at 20%+, but those discussions should be made in the context of the rapid increase in government spending and in particular state appropriations, which grew 32% from FY-2005 to FY-2009.”
In appropriated dollars, this new budget is for $6,502,883,889 in Fiscal Year 2012. The total budget reduction is 3.2% from the FY 2011 budget of $6,720,837,226 or a reduction of $217,953,337 in actual dollars.
The Governor's Budget from February gives the estimated revenue at $6,425,694,917. Her proposed budget was written with $6,325,592,836 in appropriations or $177,291,053 less that the final budget. This revenue is still $77,188,972 less than the revised budget for FY 2012. However, the difference will be made up with $120 million in cash reserves, $100 million remaining in federal stimulus funds and about $20 million in various revolving funds.

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