Oklahoma regents make case to increase funding for higher education

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education is asking the Legislature to increase appropriations by $76.3 million for the 2015 fiscal year, an increase of 7.7 percent. Lawmakers say additional funding will be difficult if state revenue doesn't increase.
by Kathryn McNutt Published: November 24, 2013

The question isn't whether spending state dollars in support of higher education is a good investment.

The question is how much money will be available to appropriate next year.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education is requesting an increase of $76.3 million in appropriations for the 2015 fiscal year, an increase of 7.7 percent.

Making the case for increased funding, the regents point to the return that comes from more people working, earning higher incomes and paying taxes.

The economic impact of every $1 of state funding is $4.72, Higher Education Chancellor Glen Johnson said Wednesday during the regents' annual Legislative Forum.

“We're getting a good return on our dollar,” Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, agreed.

But state agencies have requested a total of $1 billion in new money, and state revenue isn't as robust as projected, Bingman said.

“We've got some catching up to do,” he said.

Collections fall short

General revenue fund collections for the first four months of this fiscal year trail collections for the same period a year ago.

“We still expect modest revenue growth in the months ahead, but likely not enough to produce a big pot of new money for state government,” Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger said last month.

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by Kathryn McNutt
Higher Education Reporter
Kathryn McNutt covers higher education for The Oklahoman and NewsOK. Since joining the staff in August 2000, she also has worked as the Breaking News editor, Metro editor and assistant Local editor. A native of Oklahoma City, she graduated from...
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