Oklahoma Budget Deficit Sits At $1.3 Billion, Officials Say

Thursday, February 11th 2016, 4:10 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

The state has released new numbers on the budget deficit, and they aren’t good. Lawmakers must now work to bridge a $1.3 Billion gap, and that number will likely go up. 

House Minority Leader Scott Inman is frustrated with the progress.

2/8/2016 Related Story: Deeper Budget Cuts On The Way For State Agencies

“It has been one of the most difficult second weeks of my ten year career”, Inman told reporters, “What we saw this week was an all-out, full frontal assault on public education; on middle class families; as well as on those who are struggling to afford healthcare.”

Specifically, Inman is referring to proposed cuts to Medicaid. 

“The republican majority has said lets add 110,000 more (people) to those uninsured roles. That is unconscionable. Because of their fiscal decisions and refusal to bring our Medicaid dollars home hospitals like the one in Sayre went bankrupt.”

1/21/16 Related Story: Health Care Authority Discusses Cuts That Affect Medicaid

Republicans say it's hard to address the budget issue without the full picture of revenues.  News 9 learned this week January revenues were 17-percent lower than expected. 

“First of all we haven’t really begun budget negotiations”, President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman said, “Because the certification numbers that we work of off won’t come out till next week.”

Senator Bingman said, in terms of cuts, everything is on the table including tax credits for businesses.  He said he knows that makes business owners nervous, but, “Let’s get real, we’re looking at a billion dollar or more shortfall.”