For Immediate Release: Aug.24, 2017

Attempts to Reach Budget Agreement for Possible Special Session Continues

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin’s chief budget negotiator, Secretary of Finance, Administration and Information Technology Preston Doerflinger, today issued the following statement concerning attempts to reach a budget agreement for lawmakers to consider in a possible special session:

“Budget discussions are continuing. The governor’s office is doing due diligence in preparing for a special session as Oklahomans expect by meeting with Republican and Democratic legislative leaders in attempting to reach an agreement on how to adjust the current fiscal year budget as a result of the recent state Supreme Court ruling. As part of that discussion, the fiscal staffs of both legislative chambers and the governor’s office are looking at a variety of revenue sources to make up the budget shortfall and to provide for teacher pay increases. Possible efficiency options to streamline state government operations are also being reviewed. No agreement has been reached between the governor and any legislative party. To suggest we are even close to a deal is incredibly premature and irresponsible.

“It’s important to keep in mind that not only do we have the immediate problem of the loss of $215 million from the court’s ruling, but we should also be working towards filling the anticipated fiscal year 2019 budget hole.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  The Oklahoma Supreme Court earlier this month struck down a smoking cessation fee approved this past legislative session. This results in a $215 million shortfall for the Department of Human Services, the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the three agencies that received the bulk of the money that was to be generated by the cessation fee.