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Oil, natural gas taxes help fill budget hole

February 21, 2011
Oklahoma legislators will have $106 million more to spend this year than originally thought, thanks in part to the oil and natural gas industry. The extra revenue reduces the anticipated budget hole from about $600 million to about $500 million.

Taxes on natural gas and oil production accounted for $57 million in January, $22.3 million above the prior year and $10.7 million above the estimate.


Revised figures indicate lawmakers will have $106.4 million more to appropriate then expected for the 2012 fiscal year, which starts July 1, according to the state finance office. The extra revenue reduces the anticipated budget hole from about $600 million to about $500 million.

Fallin said the state still needs to find additional belt-tightening measures.

“That does not dismiss the notion that we need to continue to make Oklahoma government more efficient and more effective,” she said. “So I will keep pounding the pavement to try to find ways that we can eliminate duplication of state services, bring more efficient technology into the processing of our financial systems, our IT (information technology) systems in the state and we're still going to continue to push to consolidate services where it makes sense.”

The Oklahoma Tax Commission last week approved revised estimates that show an overall increase in state revenue for the 2012 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

The state Board of Equalization, made up of several elected statewide officials, meets to act Tuesday on whether to accept the Tax Commission's figures.

The board in December approved an estimate of how much legislators will have available to spend in the upcoming session; the board certifies the actual amount in February. Fallin used the December estimate to prepare her budget that she presented earlier this month to legislators; lawmakers will use Tuesday's figures to craft the 2012 fiscal year budget.

In December, the Board of Equalization declared the state legislators would have about $6.1 billion to spend this year. The revised figures put the 2012 fiscal year budget at $6.2 billion.

Legislators used state savings and federal stimulus funds to put together this fiscal year's $6.7 billion budget.

Fallin has pushed for streamlining state government operations, consolidating agencies and cutting most state agencies' budgets 3 to 5 percent to deal with the budget hole.
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