Oklahoma budget cuts affect subsidies

BY JULIE BISBEE Published: December 27, 2009
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State budget cuts could endanger federal funds that flow into the state, resulting in deeper losses for some programs.

For some programs, a $1 investment in state funds means $3 in federal funds. When state officials cut programs they could be losing federal dollars as well.

"We want to minimize the loss of federal dollars as much as possible,” state Treasurer Scott Meacham said. "But we’re losing some federal dollars already. We don’t know how much at this point.”

Federal funds help pay for services like medical care for veterans, nutrition programs and health care. Those federal dollars are matched with state dollars and when there is a decrease in state aid, federal dollars in some cases flow out of the state.

Dismal state revenue collections have forced state agencies to cut their budgets. Agency budgets will be cut 10 percent in December and January as officials look for ways to fill a $450.7 million budget shortfall. Cuts earlier this budget year have already saved the state $278 million.

But leaner state budgets could mean a deep loss in federal funding. To help trim the budget, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority has cut $26.6 million in state dollars and lost $83.4 million, said Nico Gomez, spokesman.