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Budget Contains Several Important Points

 

After months of work and lengthy conversations, legislative leaders announced a budget agreement for Fiscal Year 2022 last Thursday.

We heard directly from constituents what they wanted to see in this new budget, and I believe our proposal delivers.

This budget serves the people of Oklahoma well by providing tax relief for individuals and businesses while also adding new investments into our key priorities like education, economic development, infrastructure and health care. Core services that provide essential services for Oklahomans are maintained as well under this budget.

The budget was built on the Board of Equalization's certification of $9.6 billion in revenue available for appropriations that we received in February. Of that figure, the proposed budget utilizes $8.3 billion. The rest is allocated to tax relief, replenishing savings reserves or replenishing off-the-top funding temporarily redirected during the pandemic last session.

I wanted to highlight a few areas I thought would be especially noteworthy to my constituents of House District 28:

• Increases common education funding by 6% to a record high of $3.2 billion, leading to reductions in class sizes in kindergarten and first grade which means teachers can spend more time one-on-one with students

• Expands broadband in rural areas of the state that are underserved or not served at all, thanks to a $42 million tax incentive for broadband providers

• Puts Oklahoma in the Top Ten nationwide for lowest tax rates by reducing personal income from 5% to 4.75%and corporate income from 6% to 4%

• Provides $35 million toward new economic development funding to aggressively recruit more jobs to Oklahoma and grow our economy

• Boosts reserves from less than $300 million today to more than $1 billion, nearly back to our amount prior to the pandemic

The general appropriations bill is filed as House Bill 2900, and it will now begin moving through the legislative process. After passing the Joint Appropriations and Budget Committee, which consists of members of both the House and Senate subcommittees, the bill will be eligible to be considered in the full House and Senate. Once it has passed both chambers, it moves to the Governor's desk for his consideration.

Providing a balanced budget is the only required duty for the Legislature that is actually outlined in the Oklahoma Constitution, and our constitutional deadline for adjournment of the legislative session is 5 pm on Friday, May 28. With the budget we have drafted, I believe that the people of Oklahoma will be pleased and that we will complete our legislative work without going past the deadline.

While the budget moves through the Legislature, we'll also continue to hear amendments to legislation and work with the Senate to reach agreements on other bills.

Please feel free to reach out to my office to share thoughts on legislation.

 

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