State Government Expenditures

State Government Expenditures

The state government invests in services that benefit all Oklahomans. This section describes spending by the state government of Oklahoma. State spending is divided into several major types. State agencies combine funding streams and sources to finance their programs.

The three main sources of funding for government operations are state appropriations, federal funds, and dedicated funds, which include fees, dedicated financing, and other agency-generated funding.  

  • Appropriations are annual authority from the Legislature to spend an amount of money for a particular purpose. Appropriations get the most attention from the Governor and Legislature and from interest groups, the media, and other observers at the Capitol, because their allocation is determined by our state elected officials. Annual appropriation authority is certified each year by the Board of Equalization. In FY 2017, total state appropriations are approximately $6.8 billion.
  • Federal funds are grants given by the federal government to support specific state services. Most require the state to share in funding of these services and all limit how the money may be used.
  • Dedicated funds include fees, user charges, and other revenue collected by state agencies, which are usually deposited into revolving funds and used to support agency activities. Dedicated funds normally are not appropriated and agency spending of these funds is in addition to spending of appropriated and federal funds.

Appropriations make up less than one-third of the state’s total spending. Appropriations are the most important funding source in government because our elected officials have the greatest discretion over how to use them. Most appropriated revenue sources may be used for any legal purpose of the state, though some funds, such as the Tobacco Settlement Fund or the Oklahoma Education Lottery Trust Fund, are limited to specific purposes under state statutes or the state Constitution. Appropriations accounted for approximately 30 percent of all spending in FY 2013 for the state of Oklahoma.

Federal and dedicated funds usually are not appropriated because their use is restricted for specific purposes. In some agencies, nearly all the funding comes from appropriations while, in many others, appropriations make up less than half the total spending of the agency. Many agencies receive no appropriations at all; they are funded entirely by federal and dedicated funds.

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