Stitt issues warning amid flat Oklahoma budget projections
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – A state panel led by Gov. Kevin Stitt certified on Feb. 18 a relatively flat budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and the governor urged the Legislature to use caution while drafting a state spending plan.
The State Board of Equalization certified the Legislature will have about $8.2 billion to spend on the upcoming budget, about 1% less than current spending levels. But the governor cautioned that included in that spending level is about $310 million in one-time cash that won't be available next year.
“Even though we have $8.2 billion to spend, we have to be very, very careful," Stitt told reporters after the meeting. “If we don't have growth in the economy, we're going to have to take it right back away from some agencies."
The one-time cash is leftover from a 5% cushion that's built into each year's state budget, but is unlikely to be available next year. As a result, Stitt urged lawmakers to spend that money on one-time items, like technology upgrades or building construction, and not build it into the base for state agency spending.