This section describes the process through which Oklahoma’s state budget is created, implemented, and monitored each fiscal year. The process is a complex combination of politics, laws, and management. Its goal is to create a budget that satisfies the participants in the process, complies with legal limits, and spends no more than the available resources. Within this framework, a successful budget process results in the budget that best meets public needs and lets the public know how money is used. The most important points of this section are summarized below.
- Oklahoma divides state money between a number of funds. There are 14 separate funds in the annual state appropriated budget; these funds restrict and track how specific money is received and spent.
- Oklahoma’s revenue certification process attempts to minimize the likelihood that the state will face a shortfall in available revenue and seeks to set aside funding to meet emergency needs and help maintain services during economic downturns.
- The Constitutional Reserve Fund (or Rainy Day Fund) may be used to make up for shortfalls in the current budget, used in the budget for the coming year if revenues are forecast to fall, or spent for an emergency.
- The budget is developed through an annual process in which the Governor proposes the executive budget; the Legislature develops its own budget plan considering the input of the Governor, state agencies, and the public; and the Legislature and Governor agree on appropriation bills that allocate available money across the government.
- Once the fiscal year begins, state agencies spend their budgets according to legislative direction and state laws governing personnel, purchasing, and accounting practices.
- At the end of each fiscal year the actual revenue and spending of agencies and the government as a whole are subject to independent audits and other reviews. We use many accountability tools to be sure the budget is carried out legally, effectively, and efficiently.