The state’s Board of Equalization meets today to begin the process of building a state budget for fiscal 2013. That begins July 1 and agencies are hoping the recent upturn in state revenues will work in their favor.
But that’s not likely the case. Oklahoma has spent down its rainy day fund and use one-time money for operating expenses. That’s not available this year. One estimate put the amount of one-time money spent at $580 million.
That’s a pretty deep hole to start from. Lawmakers can spend up to 95 percent of the revenue certified by the board which is headed by Gov. Mary Fallin. State officials expect revenue to continue growing as the oil and gas boom continues but some other factors are at work, too.
Because of the revenue growth, a cut in the personal income tax was triggered and a reordering of drilling tax credits takes place. Those two issues could hold state spending in check.
The equalization board has done a better job of projecting tax revenues in recent years. A missed projection forces agencies to eliminate programs and services. Good planning makes for more efficient government.