Budget deal done

Governor Mary Fallin and leaders in the Oklahoma House and Senate late yesterday came to a budget agreement that includes targeted funding increases for core services. Fallin and other state leaders said the proposed $6.8 billion budget was a fiscally conservative road-map for the state that controls spending while allowing for improvements to be made in health and human services, public safety, transportation, education and other important areas of government.  

“This budget deal is a responsible, fiscally conservative agreement that appropriately funds core government services,” Fallin said. “The targeted increases we are pursuing will help to improve child welfare services, repair structurally deficient bridges, increase access to health care in rural areas, and boost resources for public safety. Additionally, this budget agreement will also ensure the state supports common education and keeps its promise to teachers by funding health benefits and bonuses.  All of these things will help to improve state government services and make Oklahoma a better place to live and raise a family.”  

House Speaker Kris Steele said the budget deal successfully limited unnecessary government growth.

“This budget moves Oklahoma forward on multiple fronts,” said Steele (R-Shawnee). “It represents a commitment to responsible fiscal conservatism by limiting unnecessary government growth while still increasing resources for government’s core services. It’s a straightforward, balanced budget that will benefit the public and private sectors alike in many different ways.”

Senate Pro Tem Brian Bingman said the proposal represented a common sense, conservative approach to budgeting.

“Oklahomans deserve a conservative budget that reflects our values,” Bingman (R-Sapulpa) said.  “Budget dollars should be targeted to fund important core functions of government—giving Oklahoma’s kids a better education, fixing our broken roads, and protecting society’s most vulnerable children from abuse and neglect. This agreement demonstrates a commitment to govern in a fiscally responsible way– I’m proud of our common-sense, conservative approach.”

FY 2013 Budget Proposal: Funding Increase Highlights

•    State Department of Education: Annualization of FY 2012 $52.4 million supplemental for flexible benefit allowance for teachers and support staff and National Board Certified Teacher bonuses.
•    CareerTech : Annualization of FY 2012 $1.4 million supplemental for operations
•    Higher Education: Annualization of FY 2012 $10 million supplemental for operations.
•    Military:  $500,000 for renovation of armories
•    Transportation: $99 million increase to repay FY 2012 fund transfer; ensures eight year road and bridge plan remains intact and anticipates implementation of the Bridge Improvement and Highway Modernization plan proposed by the governor in future fiscal years
•    Health Department:
     o    $1 million increase for infant mortality initiatives
     o    $500,000 for Cord Blood Bank
•    Health Care Authority:
     o    $3.080 million to fund the rural residency program to increase access to health care in rural and underserved areas.
     o    $57 million – Maintenance of Effort and Growth
     o    Transfer of Behavioral Health dollars to the Department of Mental Health – $118,492,703
•    Department of Human Services:  
     o    $25 million to fund Pinnacle Plan reforms
     o    $17 million for maintenance of effort and replacement of one-time funding in FY-2012
     o    $1.5 million for Advantage Waiver Program to provide reimbursement rate increases for home health care providers that serve the elderly
     o    $1.5 million to provide Developmental Disabilities Services Division (DDSD) reimbursement rate increases
     o    $1 million to reduce the current DDSD waiting list
•    Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services:
     o    $5.5 million for Systems of Care Grant and for an additional crisis center.  
     o    $667,000 for mental health screenings to determine the risks and needs of each offender; justice reinvestment.
     o    Transfer of Behavioral Health dollars from OHCA – $118,492,703
•    Department of Rehabilitation Services : $300,000 increase to reduce the waiting list for services
•    University Hospitals Authority:  
     o    $3 million increase for  Tisdale center in Tulsa
•    Veterans Affairs : $1 million increase to increase nursing staff and reduce staff/patient ratios
•    Commerce:  $500,000 for Base Realignment and Closure Commission
•    Conservation Commission: $500,000 increase for water monitoring projects
•    Water Resources Board:  $1.5 million increase for water monitoring projects
•    Attorney General: $5 million supplemental for water lawsuit and $2 million for justice reinvestment grants to local law enforcement agencies
•    Corrections :
     o    $2.9 million to close designated wings of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, build a lethal fence, transfer up to 800 prisoners to private beds
     o    $1 million for justice reinvestment
•    Medicolegal Investigations: $1 million supplemental and $1.5 million annualization of supplemental to obtain re-accreditation (personnel, equipment and infrastructure improvement)
•    Department of Public Safety:
     o    $5 million for  authorization of an annual trooper academy with capacity for 40 participants