A closer look at the FY '11 budget

As the dust settles on the 2010 legislative session that adjourned on May 28th, we’ve now released a detailed summary of the major highlights of the state budget for the upcoming year.  Our fact sheet includes a set of seven tables and charts, including this one, which compares total state appropriations over the past twelve years:

Perhaps the two most notable points about this chart are:

  • Total appropriations for FY ’11 are set to decrease by 7.1 percent, or $517 million, from the initial FY ’10 budget and by 3.5 percent, or $244.8 from the final FY ’10 budget after mid-year cuts;
  • To minimize the severity of budget cuts, this year’s budget included over $900 million in non-recurring revenue from the Rainy Day Fund and the federal stimulus bill.  These revenues, along with deferred payments and other one-time revenue enhancements that were agreed to by the Legislature and Governor, create substantial budget holes for FY ’12 and FY ’13, even if revenues continue to recover along with the state’s economy.

The FY ’11 Budget Highlights fact sheet also provides detailed tables of appropriations levels for each state agency.  All but five agencies – Health Care Authority, Commission of Land Office, Election Board, Rehabilitation Services, and Medicolegal Investigations – will receive less appropriations in FY ’11 than in FY ’09 . Over 30 state agencies will have absorbed funding cuts in FY ’10 and FY ’11 of at least 15 percent compared to FY ’09. However, these raw numbers cannot tell the full story of how funding decisions play out for each state agency. Some agencies are facing growing caseloads and demands for services, as well as rising costs for employee benefits and operational expenses. In other  cases, the Legislature has given agencies some relief by approving fee increases, funding voluntary buy-outs, promoting savings and efficiencies, and allowing agencies and school greater spending flexibility.

Overall, as we indicated in our initial analysis of the new budget, the agreement succeeded in averting a full-fledged catastrophe and protecting programs serving the most vulnerable segments of the population. However, ongoing cuts and funding shortfalls will continue to corrode our public services.   We conclude in the policy points that accompany the budget highlights:

FY ’11 funding levels are expected to avert deeper cuts to core services but not to restore services and staffing levels to pre-downturn levels… Most state agencies and school districts will continue to be hard-pressed to accomplish their core missions with inadequate staffing and resources.

We hope you’ll download and share the FY ’11 Budget Highlights fact sheet, and let us know if you have questions or if we’ve missed anything (note that most appropriations bills are awaiting final action by the Governor). If your organization or community group would like to discuss state budget issues in greater depth, please be in touch with me about scheduling a presentation, briefing or forum.



Former Executive Director David Blatt joined OK Policy in 2008 and served as its Executive Director from 2010 to 2019. He previously served as Director of Public Policy for Community Action Project of Tulsa County and as a budget analyst for the Oklahoma State Senate. He has a Ph.D. in political science from Cornell University and a B.A. from the University of Alberta. David has been selected as Political Scientist of the Year by the Oklahoma Political Science Association, Local Social Justice Champion by the Dan Allen Center for Social Justice, and Public Citizen of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers.

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