The State Board of Equalization certified last week that Oklahoma will have a revenue shortfall in fiscal 2010 of $729.4 million.
In addition, the board said revenues in fiscal 2011 will be $1.32 billion lower than in fiscal 2010. State Treasurer Scott Meacham said lawmakers should have $5.3 billion to spend in fiscal 2011, about 20% less than appropriated by the Legislature in fiscal 2010.
Attorney General Drew Edmondson issued an opinion certifying that the shortfall is sufficient to allow the state to access the $600 million budget stabilization fund to balance the budget for fiscal 2010 or fiscal 2011.
The fiscal 2010 budget of $7.2 billion includes some $6.6 billion in state revenue and $630 million in federal stimulus funds.
Gov. Brad Henry said Oklahoma also could use the remaining federal stimulus funds — which had been reserved for fiscal 2011 — to balance the current budget. No decision has been made on the use of the rainy-day fund or the remaining stimulus funds, he said.
“Obviously, the revenue projections are disappointing and signal some very difficult challenges ahead,” the governor said.
“As we work to address this historic shortfall and balance the budget, Oklahomans who rely on state programs and services will feel the pinch as additional cuts are imposed to reflect the latest revenue estimates.”
Henry said he would not call a special legislative session before the regular session begins Feb. 1 unless leaders agree by Jan. 12 on how to deal with the 22% drop in tax revenue.
The projected shortfall of $729 million is 14.2% of general fund appropriations in the state budget adopted in spring 2009, Meacham said.
The state has reduced expenditures by $278 million by monthly reductions in agency budgets that began with 5% in August but which increased to 10% in December and January.
The monthly cuts would have been more severe but for $233.8 million in cash reserves that were shifted into the general fund. However, those funds must be repaid by the end of fiscal 2010 on July 1.
Meacham said keeping the agency budget reductions at 10% through June would save about $105 million, which would reduce the final shortfall to some $425 million.