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Fallin hints at budget priorities, education and tax reduction

Gov. Mary Fallin discussed planning for Oklahoma's state budgets.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND Published: December 20, 2012

Following the certification of $7 billion in funds — a 3.1 percent boost in funding — for the state budget in fiscal year 2014, Gov. Mary Fallin said any proposed reductions in income taxes will be modest and the state is budgeting cautiously.

“We still have a lot of challenges ahead for our state,” Fallin said Thursday after a meeting of the Equalization Board. “We're excited that we do have extra money and growth in our revenue for our state, but we also have a caution about us in light that we don't know what Washington is going to be doing between now and the fiscal cliff, which is Jan. 2.”

State law requires the Equalization Board — composed of state officials including the lieutenant governor, state auditor, treasurer and schools superintendent — to certify funds for budgeting purposes in December. Fiscal year 2014 will begin July 1.

The board unanimously approved the estimated budget numbers, which included $214.6 million more than the state had for this fiscal year.

“We will be looking at further income tax reductions but not to the extent that we were looking at last year just because of the uncertainty,” Fallin said. “Even though we've had some great revenue growth in our state.”

Last year a complex proposal to reduce the state income tax, in part by eliminating some tax breaks and credits, failed to pass the legislature.

Fallin said any plan to reduce the personal income tax this year would be tied to growth in the state, so reductions in the tax would occur as revenues to the state increased.

Budget priorities

The governor said she has been working on the budget document, which will be submitted to lawmakers in February, for the past two months.

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