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Oklahoma House approves $7.1 billion state budget bill

The state House of Representatives on Thursday approved a $7.1 billion state appropriations bill that allocates about $80 million in new revenue for common education and $37.1 million for pay raises to some of the state’s must underpaid state employees.
by Randy Ellis Published: May 22, 2014

The state House of Representatives on Thursday approved a $7.1 billion state appropriations bill that allocates about $80 million in new revenue for common education and $37.1 million for targeted pay raises to some of the state’s most underpaid state employees.

The bill will now go to the governor.

Many state agencies will receive 5.5 percent budget reductions, but some agencies came out out much better.

The state Department of Human Services will receive a $44 million budget increase, which includes $36 million to fund the third year of a child welfare improvement plan called the Pinnacle Plan. That plan is part of a settlement agreement to a federal class-action lawsuit alleging maltreatment of children in state custody.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol will receive $4.6 million for trooper pay raises, the Corrections Department will receive $5 million to give raises to corrections employees and $20 million is set aside for raises for state employees who are the most underpaid compared with private sector salaries.

Higher education received a flat budget.

“Faced with a revenue shortfall, tough decisions had to be made,” said House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview. “Much like a family sets household budget priorities, we moved forward with a budget that emphasized core government services like education and the vital role of public safety and human services protecting our state’s most vulnerable.”

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by Randy Ellis
Investigative Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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