DALLAS — Oklahoma state agencies will get 10% less than appropriated for December, as tax revenue fell in November for the 11th consecutive month.
The agencies have had their monthly appropriations reduced by 5% since fiscal 2010 began in July, but Treasurer Scott Meacham said Tuesday the cuts would be 10% in December, and probably in January as well.
The 10% reduction will cut agency spending by $42.9 million in December.
State revenue totaled $316.4 million in November, Meacham said, which was $105.8 million less than expected and $139 million less than collected in November 2008. He called November's revenue "disappointing."
"We hoped we had begun to see the bottom of the recession in Oklahoma last month, but that does not appear to be the case," he said.
Collections in the first five months of fiscal 2010 total $1.8 billion. That is $577.5 million less than the state had expected to collect and $717.1 million less than collected in the first five months of fiscal 2009.
Meacham, who also serves as Gov. Brad Henry's cabinet secretary for finance and revenue, said the governor and legislative leaders had agreed to the 10% cuts for December.
If the decline in collections continues in December, Meacham said, the January allocation will also be reduced by at least 10%. The December revenue report will be released Jan. 12.
"At the end of the day, the state can only spend what we bring in," Meacham said. "We are required by the Oklahoma Constitution to ratchet down spending to match revenues."
The state transferred $78.4 million from cash accounts into the general fund to keep the December reduction at 10%. Transfers to the general fund since July total $233.8 million, which must be repaid by the end of fiscal 2010 on June 30.
Henry said he was meeting with Republican leaders in the House and Senate on a budget plan that replaces across-the-board budget cuts with targeted reductions. No tax increases are on the table, he said, but draws on the state's budget stabilization fund and federal stimulus dollars could be part of the solution.
"No one relishes the idea of implementing further cuts to state programs, but we really have no choice because of the fiscal realities we face," Henry said.
"None of these decisions will be easy or painless, but we really have no good options available. My goal is to do everything possible to protect state priority areas as we cut back and balance the budget."
Senate President pro tempore Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, said the revenue decline will require deeper reductions in some agency budgets.
"Revenues are still weak, and not meeting even the revised, lower projections. As a result, we will have to make some tough decisions," Coffee said.
"I would not describe it as dire. As unpleasant as it is, we are presented a real opportunity to prioritize our needs versus our wants, and make government more focused during this lean time in our history."
Revenue from personal and corporate income taxes totaled $137.4 million in November, down $40.8 million from the budget estimate. State sales tax revenue of $123.2 million was $36.3 million less than estimated.