Agency Requests

Agency Requests

Agency requests for funding help set the budget agenda. The budget begins nearly one year before any money can actually be spent with the agency budget request process. The goal of this process is to identify agency’s needs so that policy makers can compare and set priorities among them. The Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) manages this process on behalf of the Governor. OMES is headed by a director appointed by the Governor who also serves in the Governor’s cabinet as Secretary of Finance. The director of OMES appoints the budget director and comptroller, who have key roles in creating and controlling budgets.

State agency heads and their staffs must prepare detailed budget requests. Some agency heads are appointed by the Governor, in some cases subject to the consent of the Senate. Many agencies, including the departments of Higher Education, Transportation and Oklahoma Health Care Authority, are headed by multi-member commissions or boards appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate for fixed terms. These commissions have the power to appoint the agency director. A few agency heads are separately elected officials (for example the Attorney General) but only one of these, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, manages a large agency. The Governor organizes agencies with similar agencies into cabinet departments for administrative and communication purposes. Each cabinet department typically is headed by one of the agency heads in that functional area.

Agencies need a lot of time, information, and judgment to prepare their budget requests. Each agency has different considerations in making its request, but some common issues arise for all agencies.

  • What will it cost next year to provide the same services as this year? Agencies face inflation in virtually every aspect of their budget. Sometimes costs can decrease when “one-time” costs can be subtracted from next years’ budget or if responsibilities have been eliminated or shifted to other agencies.
  • What appropriations will be needed next year to maintain the same services as this year? This considers changes regarding other sources of funding (such as federal grants or fee revenue). When these two steps are completed, the agency has a clear picture of the appropriations it will need to maintain the same services next year. This is commonly called the “base budget.”
  • What changes are required in the service level? Agencies often find that service demands will increase in the coming year. Agencies must set priorities among existing and desired new programs and estimate the cost to provide each one in the coming year.
  • What programs can be eliminated or streamlined?

Once it has answered these questions, the agency submits its request to OMES. Requests include plans for how agencies will spend all funds, whether appropriated or not, and performance measures. Agencies also must prepare requests for capital projects-those that have a long useful life and high cost, including construction, buildings, and major equipment purchases, for review by the state’s Long-Range Capital Planning Commission. Agency budget requests must be submitted by October 1st, or nine months prior to the start of the fiscal year.

View Oklahoma Policy Institute’s Legislative Primer for more information on budget processes and participants. 

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