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Oklahoma's revenue downturn continues

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: January 12, 2010 at 2:31 pm •  Published: January 12, 2010
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The end of the state's revenue downturn is not yet in sight, state Treasurer Scott Meacham said today.

State revenue collections have fallen below previous years' collections and the official estimate every month for the past year. Funding to agencies has been cut across the board since August.

December revenue collections are much less than estimated, but are sufficient to fund state agencies for the month at the previously announced 10 percent across-the-board cut without having to borrow money from other funds.

Preliminary reports show general revenue fund collections in December are $402.3 million. That amount is $165.1 million, or 29.1 percent, below last year and $178.6 million, or 30.7 percent, below the estimate.

Meacham said December's numbers continue to be disappointing.

"We were hopeful that revenues might begin to improve slightly; instead they continued their downward slide," he said.

Five percent across-the-board cuts to agencies were ordered in August. The cuts were increased to 10 percent last month; Gov. Brad Henry and legislative leaders agreed to a 10 percent cut again for this month.

The 10 percent reduction amounts to a monthly cut of $42.9 million in budgetary allocations to state agencies.

Meacham said the amount of allocation reductions for the remainder of the fiscal year remains under discussion.

"Governor Henry and legislative leadership are discussing the best course of action to balance the state's budget by the end of this fiscal year, minimize service reductions and lay the course for funding next fiscal year," Meacham said. "Continued spending cuts are a certainty. How much deeper, if any, they will have to go is the question at this point."