Friday, June 10, 2016
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today signed the 2017 fiscal year budget bill (Senate Bill 1616) into law. She also signed another bill and vetoed another, closing the book on the 2016 legislative session.
SB 1616, which outlines spending of state tax dollars for the fiscal year that begins July 1, maintains common education funding at current levels, averts closures of hospitals and nursing homes and closes $969.3 million of the $1.3 billion budget gap lawmakers faced this legislative session. The $6.78 billion budget is $360.7 million, or 5 percent, less than the 2016 fiscal year budget prior to the midyear revenue failure. It is $67.8 million, or 1 percent, less than the 2016 fiscal year appropriations as adjusted by the midyear revenue failure.
The $1.3 billion budget hole was the largest in state history.
“I am pleased that lawmakers were able to make targeted spending cuts and free up revenues through tax reform and structural budget changes to close the gap,” said Fallin. “Those reforms included making some money in the Cash Flow Reserve Fund available for legislative appropriation and improving revenue stability of the General Revenue Fund by passing legislation creating the Revenue Stabilization Fund to deal with fluctuations in energy prices. We also ended the double deduction on income tax, capped a tax credit for at-risk wells and adjusted a coal credit.
“We worked hard to protect key core services – common education, health and human services, corrections and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority – while keeping our eight-year transportation infrastructure plan intact. Whether it’s improving public safety, fixing our roads and bridges, boosting education or raising our health outcomes and indicators, the successes of this session to protect core services in the midst of an energy crisis will help to make Oklahoma a better place to live, work and raise a family.”
The governor did veto one line item of the budget bill dealing with volunteer fire department workers’ compensation premiums for the 2017 fiscal year. Volunteer firefighter coverage will not be affected by this line-item veto.
The Oklahoma Constitution gives the governor the authority to line-item veto appropriations bills.
Fallin vetoed Section 56 of SB 1616, which inadvertently double-funded the volunteer firefighters' workers' compensation premiums.
In other action today, Fallin signed SB 398 and vetoed House Bill 3159.
In all, the governor signed 395 bills and vetoed five that were submitted to her during this year’s session, which ended May 27. One bill was recalled by the state Senate.