OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Board of Equalization is confirming a revenue failure in the state, a financial crisis in the amount of an 878 million dollar shortfall.
“We just have to decide as a state what we want to fund and what types of services do we want to have,” said Governor Mary Fallin.
The shortfall for the upcoming year beginning July 1 means the legislature will have 13 percent less for state agencies than last year.
“I’ve said for the last three years that we have to fix our structural deficits in our budget. We can’t keep moving money from one place to the other, playing a smoke and mirror game and acting like we had revenue when we didn’t,” Fallin said.
The governor attributes the downturn in the energy sector as part of the blame for the state budget problems.
She has proposed several tax increases on cigarettes, motor fuel and broadening the sales tax to a variety of services.
But, on the other hand, she’s wants to eliminate corporate income tax and taxes on groceries.
On the other side of the isle, there’s a different take on the state’s financial woes.
“The voters of Oklahoma need to know the governor is coming after your pocket book,” said Scott Inman, House Minority Leader. “This revenue failure is self-inflicted.”
Inman said a tax increase isn’t the solution.
“If we’re ever going to get out of this hole, you’re not going to do it by raising taxes on the backs of working Oklahomans or on the backs of senior citizens. You will do it by restoring the tax cuts that they have overseen in the last decade. If they don’t do it, then we will be right back here next year talking about another revenue failure, talking about more cuts to education, more cuts to health care, more cuts to public safety,” Inman said.
This is the third consecutive year with a budget shortfall and the second straight for a revenue failure.