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Nearly $870 million budget hole awaits Oklahoma lawmakers in 2017

Oklahoma flags blowing in the wind at Capitol

OKLAHOMA CITY – There will be familiar problems for Oklahoma lawmakers in the 2017 session, as well as a budget hole that’s about 12 percent of state funding.

It will be the third consecutive year the Republican-controlled Legislature will face the prospect of either further cutting state services or finding new sources of revenue through increased taxes, fines or fees.

Republican Gov. Mary Fallin has said cuts alone won’t be enough and has proposed expanding the state’s sales tax.

But the prospect of raising taxes is politically difficult, especially for Republicans, many of whom were elected on promises of keeping taxes low.

Lawmakers will also need to look at teacher pay and overcrowded prisons.