The FY 2019 budget increases funding significantly from recent years.
State agencies will be appropriated a total of $7.567 billion in FY 2019. This is an increase of $718.5 million (10.5 percent) compared to the initial FY 2018 budget approved last May, and an increase of $601 million (8.6 percent) compared to the final FY 2018 budget, which included various mid-year cuts and increases.
Next year’s appropriations will be the largest in state history, surpassing the $7.235 billion budget in FY 2015; however, when adjusted for inflation, next year’s budget remains 9.4 percent ($788 million) below the budget of FY 2009.
The budget includes $507.6 million in additional tax revenue (see Table 1).
The largest revenue bill – HB 1010xx – increased the cigarette tax by $1 per pack, the fuel tax on gas by $0.03 per gallon and on diesel by $0.06 per gallon, and the initial gross production tax rate from 2 to 5 percent. HB 1010xx marked the first time the Legislature has given three-fourths approval needed to raise taxes since passage of State Question 640 in 1992. A veto referendum campaign, SQ 799, seeks to overturn HB 1010xx.
Other revenue measures will limit itemized deductions (HB 1011xx), expand collections from online retailers (HB 1019xx), and allow dice games and roulette at tribal casinos (HB 3375).
The largest funding increase went to the Department of Education.
Total appropriations for K-12 education was increased $465 million (19.0 percent) from initial FY 2018 funding.
Common education received $354 million for teacher pay raises averaging $6,100; $52 million for $1,250 pay raises for support staff, $25 million for increased benefit costs; $33 million for textbooks and instructional materials; and $17 million for general operations.
State support for school operations will remain some $145 million less than in FY 2009, even as K-12 enrollment has grown by over 50,000 students.
Several other agencies received funding increases, including:
The Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS), Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA), and Department of Human Services (DHS) were funded to partly or fully reverse provider rate cuts;
DHS also received $2 million to serve families currently on the Developmental Disabilities Services Division (DDSD) waiting list and $100,000 to establish a new respite care waiver;
OHCA received an additional $110 million to cover the loss of federal funds for graduate medical education;
The Department of Corrections received $4.8 million to implement an electronic offender management system;
The Regents for Higher Education received $7.5 million for concurrent enrollment programs.
Most agencies will have flat funding for programs in FY 2019
Of 65 appropriated agencies, 39 will remain 20 percent or more below their FY 2009 appropriations, without adjusting for nearly a decade of inflation.
State workers are set to receive raises ranging from a maximum of $2,000 for employees with salaries under $40,000 to a minimum of $750 for those with salaries over $60,000. The Legislature appropriated $53.7 million to cover pay raises.
Gene Perry worked for OK Policy from 2011 to 2019. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism.