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Mary Fallin signs 2017 Oklahoma Legislative budget

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OKLAHOMA CITY- Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed the 2017 budget into law Friday.

The measure lays out state spending of your tax dollars for the fiscal year which begins July 1.

The  plan maintains common education funding at current levels, averts closures of hospitals and nursing homes and closes $969 million of the $1.3 billion budget shortfall the state faced during the legislative session according to the Governor’s office.

The total budget is $6.78 billion dollars and is $360.7 million dollars, or 5 percent, less than the 2016 fiscal budget before the midyear revenue failure.

The Governor released this statement after signing the measure.

“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. Fallin vetoed Section 56 of SB 1616, which inadvertently double-funded the volunteer firefighters’ workers’ compensation premiums.

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.