FY 2015 Budget Highlights

appropriations-adjustedOK Policy’s annual Budget Highlights issue brief is one of the most informative and accessible ways to track Oklahoma’s public spending. Today we’ve released the FY 2015 Budget Highlights, which include a bullet point summary of the state budget, six charts illustrating different aspects of the budget, and a table showing appropriations for every state agency going back to 2009.

The bullet points are excerpted below. You can download the full issue brief here. You can also see this blog post for analysis of why some assertions made by lawmakers about spending cuts and increases in this year’s budget do not hold up to scrutiny. (more…)

Breaking down the FY 2015 budget

Yesterday the legislature passed the FY 2015 General Appropriations bill, which funds state government for the upcoming year on the basis of an agreement reached by Governor Fallin and legislative leaders.  While negotiators were clearly dealt a tough hand in constructing a budget, the results were disappointing for anyone hoping for a budget that meets the state’s critical obligations in a responsible and sustainable way.

Total legislative appropriations for FY 2015 are $7.193 billion, which is essentially unchanged from last year’s $7.197 billion budget (1). Starting with some $188 million less revenue  than was appropriated this year, the budget tapped  $254 million in one-time revenues that were transferred from a variety of accounts, including the Cash Flow Reserve Fund ($101 million), the Unclaimed Property Fund ($40 million), and more than two dozen agency revolving funds ($108.2 million).

06-15-appropriations (more…)

Infographic illustrates why Oklahoma should end drilling tax break

A new infographic from Together Oklahoma, a coalition which includes Oklahoma Policy Institute, shows why Oklahoma needs to reign in a tax break for horizontal drilling.

What It Means for Oklahoma Schools

The cost of Oklahoma’s tax break for horizontal drilling has skyrocketed, and it is draining funding from Oklahoma schools. 

By allowing the tax break to expire, more than $250 million could be made available to Oklahoma schools, enough to restore funding that was cut during the recession. Revenue from eliminating the tax break could boost school funding by as much as $370 per pupil this year.

HorizontalMainGraphic

Download a high resolution copy of the infographic here. (more…)

What the horizontal drilling tax break is costing your kids’ school

drilling-educationFor Oklahoma’s elected officials looking to increase funding for education, the sensible solution can be found right under our feet. By doing away with what has become an increasingly unnecessary and unaffordable tax break, every school district and every school child in Oklahoma would benefit

A new set of fact sheets released today by Together Oklahoma, based on data from OK Policy, shows how much additional funding each school district in Oklahoma could receive if the increasingly costly and unjustified tax break for horizontal drilling was eliminated and the money was used instead to boost public education. (more…)

Filling the Budget Hole: Options for a Balanced Approach

Despite a drop in revenue certified as available for next year’s budget, a new report from Oklahoma Policy Institute shows that budget cuts are not inevitable. Lawmakers have numerous feasible revenue options that they can use to fill the budget hole.

Appropriations-08-15-CPIadjustedThe report, “Filling the Budget Hole: Options for a Balanced Approach” lays out seven options that state policymakers should consider as part of budget discussions this session:

  • Curbing the tax break for horizontal oil and gas production
  • Eliminating the “double deduction” of state income taxes
  • Adopting combined corporate reporting
  • Enhancing tax collection from online sales
  • Tapping the Rainy Day Fund
  • Maintaining transportation funding at current levels
  • Accepting federal funds to expand health coverage

Click here for the full-length brief

Click here for the 2-page Executive Summary

Click here for the blog post (with links to more detailed discussion of each revenue option)

Click here for the press release