Revenue shortfalls and shrinking sales tax revenue have forced the Oklahoma Historical Society to declare two days of furlough for all employees.
“This was a last resort,” said Dr. Bob Blackburn, executive director of the OHS. “But we have exhausted all savings such as a hiring freeze, deferred maintenance, and the cancellation of several contracts.”
Officials said since July, after suffering a 5 percent cut of $427,581, the revenue shortfalls and declining revenue have created an additional budget hole of $931,461.
Blackburn said the revenue shortfalls have hit the Historical Society more than other agencies.
“Almost one-third of our appropriation is funding to make bond payments on the Oklahoma History Center,” said Blackburn. “But those funds are not shielded from revenue shortfalls. We have to make the payments, which transfers that cut to the operational side.”
The quirk in that funding formula has added $242,000 to the Society’s cuts, according to officials.
“Our employees are our greatest asset as we collect, preserve, and share Oklahoma history,” said Blackburn. “After nine years of no inflation adjustments to their pay, they are being asked to do more with less. I admire their commitment to our mission.”
The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains 31 museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma.