When lawmakers convene for the 2010 legislative session, they will be dealing with state agencies with slashed budgets and diminishing services. Since August, state agencies have cut their budgets as state tax collections came in below estimates. In the budget deal announced last week, some agencies will continue to have their budgets cut 10 percent through the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends June 30. Cuts already in place have reduced the state’s deficit to $530 million from $729.4 million for the existing budget year.
Agencies have trimmed costs, furloughed employees, offered early retirement plans and, in some cases, cut services to the public. Senior citizens’ meals have been cut as a result of state Department of Human Services budget reductions. Budget cuts are expected to prompt layoffs when the state Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Department closes a facility in Norman. Officials estimate about 100 people will lose their jobs. The Oklahoma Historical Society cut 30 jobs, raised the admission price to the Oklahoma History Center from $5 to $7 and ended free admission on Mondays. The Office of Juvenile Affairs is cutting the number of juveniles it has at the L.E. Rader Center in Sand Springs. While education, corrections and the state Health Care Authority would get a cash infusion as part of the proposed budget plan, other agencies are adjusting.