Oklahoma House Speaker Jeff Hickman: State agencies would be ‘devastated’ if education not cut
By BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau
OKLAHOMA CITY — It would be difficult to give education a flat budget without devastating other agencies, House Speaker Jeff Hickman said Tuesday.
His comments to reporters came as the House Republican caucus met behind closed doors to discuss the state’s revenue failure for the current fiscal year and the upcoming fiscal year 2017 budget, which will be at least $900.8 million less than fiscal year 2016’s.
The revenue failure resulted in 3 percent budget cuts to state-appropriated agencies. The state Board of Education recently voted to reduce school budgets by $47 million as a result.
“Fifty-one cents of every dollar we spend is on education,” said Hickman, R-Fairview. “So when they are 51 percent of our budget and a third of that is just common education alone, there is no possible way that I see to be able to do what we did last year, which is to shield education from any budget cuts.”