The Oklahoma Senate on Wednesday approved a $7.6 billion general appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2019 that gives significant funding increases for common education, mental health services, child welfare programs, and criminal justice reform.
“For the first time in years, we have a budget in which no agency receives a cut.
“The budget contains a 19 percent increase for common education, more than $24 million for the Department of Human Services to fully fund the Pinnacle Plan, and $11 million for multiple criminal justice reform measures,” said President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz, R-Altus. “This budget puts additional resources toward core services like education, mental health, child welfare services, and public safety.”
“In this budget, Oklahoma Senate Republicans undeniably have demonstrated our commitment to education. This budget contains $365 million for a $6,100 on average teacher pay raise, $52 million for support staff raises, $33 million for textbooks, and $17 million in new funding for the school funding formula. We also secured $7.5 million in funding for concurrent enrollment. Education is important to the success of our state which is why Senate Republicans worked so hard to secure significant increases for our students, teachers, and schools in this budget,” Schulz said.
Senate Appropriations Chair Kim David, R-Porter, said, “After years of economic recession in Oklahoma that led to massive cuts to the state budget, our state has finally turned the corner and this year’s budget reflects that.
“The fiscal year 2019 budget has $260 million in growth revenue due to policy changes and growth in the economy. That growth means our budget is on more stable financial footing because it has greatly reduced our reliance on so-called ‘one-time money.’ It’s a great feeling to have no agency budget cuts, and instead have a budget that puts significantly more money toward education, mental health services, and public safety.”
Highlights of the FY’19 budget:
– $7.6 billion budget
• Approximately $745 million increase over FY’18$365 million for teacher pay raises
• $54 million for state employee raises
• $260 million in growth revenue
• No cuts for any agency
– $2.9 billion for common education, a 19 percent increase
• $6,100 teacher pay raise, on average
• $52 million for support staff raises
• $33 million for textbooks
• $17 million in new state-aid funding formula
• $7.5 million increase for concurrent enrollment
– $24.6 million funding increase for Department of Human Services, fully funding Pinnacle Plan
• 7 percent increase for Medicaid Advantage waiver, Developmental Disability and Group Home rate increases
• 5 percent increase on foster care and adoption rates
• $2 million increase for the Developmental Disabilities Services Division (DDSD) wait list
– $11 million in criminal justice reform initiatives
• $5 million to Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
• $1.1 million to Oklahoma Indigent Defense System (OIDS)
• $1 million to District Attorney’s Council
– $2 million for agency performance audits conducted by Agency Performance and Accountability Commission
– $4.8 million to Department of Corrections to implement electronic offender management system
– $4 million to Office of Emergency Management for disaster relief
– $400,000 to Department of Agriculture for rural fire fighters