Oklahoma legislators will have $34 million more to appropriate this year than the amount the governor used in her budget, according to figures approved Tuesday by a state budget board.
In all, lawmakers will have about $213 million more than a year ago to craft a state budget of $7.04 billion.
Gov. Mary Fallin said she would like some of the extra money to go toward education, especially public schools, and to help pay for her proposed quarter percent cut in the state's top personal income tax rate of 5.25 percent.
“I'm still hoping that we'll be able to give taxpayers some relief by a tax cut this year,” she said. “But there are some other agencies that need some help, such as education.”
The Board of Equalization, made up of several state officials, agreed that lawmakers this year will have $7.04 billion to appropriate to run state government for the 2014 fiscal year, which starts July 1.
Oklahoma also receives about $6.9 billion in federal money and collects another approximately $5 billion in fees.
The board in December approved an estimate that lawmakers would have $7.05 billion to appropriate for the 2014 fiscal year. The December estimate is made so the governor can develop a budget to present to legislators in early February to kick off the four-month legislative session
The December estimate was made with anticipation federal tax cuts set to expire Jan. 1 would be eliminated, based on existing law at that time. When the tax cuts were extended, state Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger cautioned that the new revenue figures would be less. Doerflinger, Fallin's chief budget negotiator, lowered the extra revenue projection to $178 million to prepare the governor's budget.
The board also approved projections that show the state's main operating fund will have a surplus of $83.3 million, instead of $66.4 million, at the end of this fiscal year. That money will be deposited in the state's savings account, the Rainy Day Fund. The amount of that fund in July should increase to $660.8 million, a record.