State Budget Shortfall Projected at $600 million; Will Conservation Programs Suffer?
Feb. 17, 2015 – Today, the State Board of Equalization is expected to certify the state revenue available for next year is $600 million less than the current budget. The amount available for Oklahoma’s next fiscal year beginning July 1, 2015 is projected near $6.6 billion, compared to the current budget of $7.2 billion.
To balance the budget, Gov. Fallin has proposed redirecting $300 million from agency revolving funds to the General Revenue Fund, as well as tapping into the state’s Rainy Day Fund. This is in addition to a 6.25 percent budget cut to a number of state agencies including the Water Resources Board, Conservation Commission, Scenic Rivers Commission, Environmental Quality, Tourism and Recreation and the Department of Agriculture.
In a recent article, State Impact Oklahoma explores if the budget cuts could lead to more state park closures. Since 2009, the Tourism and Recreation Department has cut state funding of eight parks due to budget restraints.
The full impact of cuts to these departments that are responsible for monitoring our state’s water quality and supply, managing and preserving our natural resources and revitalizing our state parks has yet to be seen. The Conservation Coalition of Oklahoma is actively tracking all legislation that could potentially impact conservation issues and will continue to post updates at www.oklahomaconservation.org/issues. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.