Stitt: Budget plan includes employee pay raises, $200 million to Rainy Day Fund

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Governor Kevin Stitt says he and lawmakers have finally reached a budget deal for the upcoming fiscal year.

As it stands, the plan would give most teachers an over $1,200 pay raise.

An additional $74.3 million will go to local schools for their “unique needs,” like hiring additional teachers and counselors.

"For the first time in state history we're going to end up being the number one in teacher pay in our region" said Gov. Stitt.

The plan also provides $28 million for higher education in order to bolster research programs and provide a salary increase for college professors.

"I don't think education was ever in jeopardy of not getting another appropriation it was a promise that was made last year, and that promise has come through" said Rep. Jason Dunnington.

"We know that this budget reflects the desire and the prioritization to be on top" said State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.

The plan would give a state employee pay raise up to $1,400 building on the raise of $2,000 dollars last year.

The plan includes the following:

  • $203 million increase for public education
  • $500,000 to fund public-private partnerships to maintain clean water in northeast Oklahoma and areas with high poultry density.
  • $90,000 to hire an additional state veterinarian.
  • $1.1 million for wildfire mitigation funding and additional resources for rural firefighters
  • $1.5 million to improve rural flood control dams.
  • $37.7 million for a state employee pay raise up to $1,300.
  • $15 million for the digital transformation of state government services.
  • $1.7 million to create the Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency.
  • $700,000 to hire more auditors and increase the state auditor's office capability to conduct more regular audits across state agencies.
  • Fully fund Oklahoma Department of Transportation's 8-year plan.
  • Restored $30 million in funding to CIRB supporting county roads.
  • Funding prioritization for 2 new trooper academies, putting an estimated 80 more troopers on the roads in 2020.
  • $2 per hour pay increase for correctional officers, which is a 14% raise.
  • $1 million to reduce the backlog of untested rape kits.
  • $20 million to reform the funding of district attorney offices.
  • $10 million for Smart on Crime programs through the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.
  • $1.5 million for the Women in Recovery Diversion Program.
  • $1.7 million to address the increasing demand for mental health services.
  • $19 million for the Quick Action Closing Fund, prioritizing recruitment opportunities to grow Oklahoma.
  • $1 million for additional job growth and economic development specifically in the automotive industry and in aerospace.
  • $1 million to assist new entrepreneurs and small businesses through the Oklahoma Center for Advancement of Science and Technology.
  • $5.3 million to modernize the Oklahoma Corporation Commissions' permit processing for energy development.
  • $62.8 million for the Graduate Medical Education program to support physician training for rural hospitals.
  • $105 million reallocation to increase provider rates for physicians, hospitals and nursing homes.
  • $29 million saved to a new preservation fund to preserve Medicaid provider rates.
  • $10 million to decrease the Developmental Disability Services waitlist and increase provider rates.
  • $4.6 million to increase immunizations and staff county health departments throughout the state.

The plan also has $200 million going into the Rainy Day Savings Fund.

"For the first time in state history, we are setting back an additional savings account of $200 million without the law enforcing it" said the Governor.

Stitt says that number would allow the state to have a total $1 billion in savings.

Democrats responding, saying saving should not be a focus right now.

"We've been cutting core services for about a decade now, and it's foolish in our opinion, to put away $200 million without the law enforcing it" said Democratic Minority Leader Emily Virgin.

"A vast majority of our citizens, don't make enough money to have savings of their own" added Rep. Dunnington.

Dr. Marcie Mack, state director of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education also weighed in:

“I commend the Governor, Senate and House leadership for their historic support of CareerTech programs and teachers.  This budget will help us expand access to CareerTech programs and get more skilled workers into Oklahoma’s economy" said Mack.

The Governor also emphasized this plan will not add any new taxes.

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