Fallin urges lawmakers to work with her to find new revenue amid budget crisis

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Mary Fallin

OKLAHOMA CITY – If the Oklahoma Legislature wants to continue funding critical services like education, public safety and infrastructure, Gov. Mary Fallin says lawmakers should work with her to come up with permanent ways to fund those priorities.

Fallin will deliver her seventh state of the state speech to members of the House and Senate on Monday. The Republican governor says she will lay out a plan for a “major overhaul of our tax system” designed to close the budget gap and eliminate the need for lawmakers to continue using one-time sources of money to plug deficits.

Last month, Oklahoma Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger announced that December’s revenue missed the mark by more than 12 percent.

Lawmakers say they are already preparing for an $870 million budget shortfall. Experts say that amount could grow if collections across the state do not increase.

The governor said she would paint a stark picture of the devastating cuts state programs will be forced to endure without any new sources of revenue.

Last year, lawmakers were forced to close a $1.3 billion gap in the budget, which led to drastic cuts for many state agencies.

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