Oklahoma State and Local Spending

Oklahoma State and Local Spending

Oklahoma’s government spending is divided among state and local governments. The figure below looks at Oklahoma’s overall spending and separately shows spending of the state and its local governments.

Overall, Oklahoma spent just over $32 billion on public services in 2013. Of this amount, $18.71 billion, or 58 percent, was state spending, while $13.56 billion, or 42 percent, was spent by local governments. Here’s how spending for different services breaks down between state and local governments:

  • Education: Local governments–school districts and vocational-technical schools–spend the most on education, about $5.8 billion per year. In addition to supporting public schools for students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, the state’s $3.9 billion in education spending supports public colleges and universities.
  • Health and Social Services: State government is the main provider of health and social services. Its $7.3 billion annual expenditure is the largest single use of state funds. The state operates a wide range of social services, of which the largest is Medicaid, the health insurance system for low-income Oklahomans. Local spending for health and social services, mainly county and city hospitals, is considerably lower, approximately $1.2 billion per year.
  • Transportation: Transportation is an example of a public investment that is shared across many governments. Overall, Oklahoma spends about $2.4 billion per year. State spending–mostly for highways–is over half of all transportation spending. Local spending for streets, transit, airports, and ports also is essential to the safe and efficient movement of goods and people.
  • Public Safety: Public safety spending, which totals $2.3 billion per year, also is shared among many governments. The state supports corrections, highway patrol, and a number of specialized law enforcement agencies, accounting for less than half of total public safety spending. Local agencies, mostly cities and counties, spend the rest on sheriffs and city police departments, as well as fire and emergency medical services.
  • Environment and Housing: Local governments spend the most on environment and housing services. The state provides a number of important services, however, including state parks and environmental regulation agencies. Local spending includes housing, community development and regulation, and parks.
  • Utilities: Utility spending is approximately $2.3 billion annually. The largest share is for local government operation of water, electric, and gas utilities, but the state operates large electric utilities as well.
  • Insurance Trusts: Insurance trust spending is about $2.6 billion each year, mostly state spending for employee retirement systems and for unemployment and workers compensation insurance.

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