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Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry sees crisis as revenue declines

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: November 3, 2009 at 6:27 am •  Published: November 3, 2009
uot;Important programs throughout state government are suffering right now and are taking cuts.”

The governor dismissed the notion of a legislator seeking a special session to address the senior nutrition program funding shortfall.

"There are so many programs that are suffering right now that need to be addressed,” Henry said. "This situation is critical.”

Henry said that he and legislative leaders are talking regularly.

Before lawmakers decide to spend any of the nearly $600 million in the state’s savings account, the Rainy Day Fund, it would be helpful to get a snapshot of the revenue projection for the next fiscal year, Henry said.

The state Tax Commission will present its first estimate of the 2011 fiscal year in late December. Legislators return in regular session in February.

In addition to the Rainy Day Fund, legislators have also set aside about $600 million in federal stimulus funds to use for the 2011 fiscal year.

"We are prepared, and we’re just trying to figure out the best way to deal with this,” the governor said.