OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Although Oklahoma appeared to be on solid ground earlier in the fiscal year, state leaders say the state will experience a revenue failure due to COVID-19.
On Friday, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced that Oklahoma will experience a revenue failure of approximately $416 million for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends June 30.
“This revenue failure is not unexpected given the significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the dramatic downturn in the oil and gas markets,” said Gov. Stitt. “Times like these further reinforce how critically important it was for our House and Senate leadership to work with me to save an additional $200 million during last year’s budget surplus.”
Under normal circumstances, the revenue failure would automatically result in a 6.2% budget cut to all state agencies.
However, Stitt has called for a special virtual meeting to begin formal procedures necessary for the state legislature to tap into the state’s savings account.
“When our health department officials, public safety workers, emergency responders and so many others are working tirelessly to help the people of Oklahoma, I want everyone to know that we will prioritize protecting our core services for dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.” said Gov. Stitt.
The Rainy Day Fund currently has a balance of $806 million, up to $302 million of which is constitutionally available to the Legislature. Due to the emergency declaration, the Legislature is authorized to access an additional $201 million.
“As the last few weeks have demonstrated, it will take time to fully understand the impact COVID-19 will have on our state revenue. We must be very cautious and remain fiscally prudent to restrain spending as we work with the legislature on next year’s budget.”