ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

clear-day
47°
Clear
H 54° L 29°
  • clear-day
    47°
    Current Conditions
    Clear. H 54° L 29°
  • clear-night
    42°
    Evening
    Clear. H 54° L 29°
  • clear-night
    30°
    Morning
    Clear. H 59° L 36°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg news on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg traffic on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg weather on demand

00:00 | 00:00

Revenue decline expected in Oklahoma

Early projections show the Oklahoma Legislature will have less money to spend on state programs in the upcoming fiscal year, prompting the state's finance secretary on Wednesday to warn agency leaders to prepare for flat or reduced budgets.

Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger said early estimates show the Legislature will have about $6.9 billion to appropriate for the fiscal year that begins July 1. That's about $273 million, or 3.8 percent, less than lawmakers spent on the current fiscal year.

The revenue estimates are expected to be certified on Thursday by the Oklahoma Board of Equalization and will be used by Gov. Mary Fallin to prepare her executive budget, which is often a starting point for budget negotiations with the Legislature.

"Barring a big revenue increase, it looks like the next state budget will be slightly smaller than last year or flat," Doerflinger said.

However, as a result of Tuesday's decision by the Oklahoma Supreme Court to toss out a bill to cut the state's top personal income tax rate and divert $120 million in tax collections for Capitol repairs, Fallin plans to make a motion to add about $103 million back into next year's budget. If approved by the board, that would reduce the budget hole to about $170 million, or about 2.4 percent less, than what was appropriated last year, Doerflinger said.

The board will meet again in February to make a final determination on how much will be available for the Legislature to appropriate, but Doerfliner said a major change in the revenue picture is unlikely.

Although Oklahoma's economy is continuing to improve and overall gross collections to the state treasury are up, Doerflinger said collections to the general revenue fund, the state's main operating account, are dwindling as a result of legislation over recent years to divert money directly to pay for things like transportation, education, pensions, and various tax credits and incentives.

In 2007, Doerflinger said more than 55 percent of overall revenue collections went to the general fund. This year, that figure is down to about 45 percent.

"Policymakers now control less than half the revenue collected by government because the general revenue fund is losing ground each year," he said. "Even though most of the redirected funds are going to necessary, noble purposes, the trend should still cause pause."

Rep. Tom Newell, R-Seminole, said: "We knew all along that even with a flat budget that we were going to have to make some tough decisions. Now, this just makes those decisions even tougher."

Education officials, who have been pushing for more funding as a result of increased enrollment, say public school students are likely to suffer from flat or reduced budgets.

"It's our students who will be sitting in overcrowded classrooms," Oklahoma Education Association President Linda Hampton said in a statement. "It's our students who will be retained in third grade this year if they cannot pass the reading test, who won't receive the needed remediation. It's our students who won't have access to technology and will be forced to use outdated textbooks.

"You can't expect everything and pay for nothing."

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

  • Solar energy is booming in the United States, but companies riding the wave fear that President Donald Trump could undercut them this week if he decides to impose new tariffs on imported solar panels. Businesses that install solar-power systems are benefiting from a glut of cheaper panels made overseas, mostly in Asia. That has made solar power more competitive with electricity generated from coal and natural gas. A green-technology research firm estimates that tariffs could cost up to 88,000 U.S. jobs related to installing solar-power systems. On the other side are two U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies that argue the domestic manufacturing of solar cells and modules has been decimated by a flood of imports, mostly from Chinese companies with operations throughout Asia. Imports of silicon photovoltaic cells, the building blocks of solar panels, soared nearly 500 percent between 2012 and 2016, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission.
  • Kentucky governor Matt Bevin confirmed the death on twitter.  Reports say seven people were transported to hospitals, some by helicopter. Early reports say the shooter opened fire in a commons of Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky hitting several people. Energency crews responded quickly and confirmed the shooter is in custody.  Check back for more as this story develops. >> Read more trending news
  • After months of tough talk about defending U.S. businesses against cheap imported goods, President Donald Trump on Tuesday officially signed off on new tariffs on imports of certain washing machines and solar power equipment, following through on his campaign vows to make trade work better for American companies. “Our companies will not be taken advantage of anymore,” the President told reporters at the White House, repeating a common theme from his campaign for the White House. In a signing ceremony in the Oval Office, the President officially accepted a recommendation from the U.S. International Trade Commission, which investigated specific trade complaints about washing machines and solar panels, and recommended higher tariffs for four years. “There won’t be a trade war,” the President predicted, brushing off warnings about his tariff decisions possibly sparking retaliatory measures by China and South Korea. Under the plan, there will be an immediate 30 percent tariff on most imports of solar energy components, as well as a 50 percent tariff on larger imported washing machines. “My administration is committed to defending American companies, and they’ve been very badly hurt, from harmful import surges that threaten the livelihood of their workers,” the President said. “We’re bringing business back to the United States for the first time in many, many years,” he added. The President’s tariff move came as American negotiators began a new week of talks Tuesday in Montreal on changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), with officials from Canada and Mexico working on possible changes to that trade deal. Mr. Trump has made clear he wants the details of NAFTA to be rewired, as he charges that U.S. businesses are being treated unfairly in some trade areas, threatening at times to tear up the deal. We are in the NAFTA (worst trade deal ever made) renegotiation process with Mexico & Canada.Both being very difficult,may have to terminate? — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 27, 2017 The immediate reaction in Congress and the business community to the President’s tariff decision was mixed, as some lawmakers said the moves could cost jobs and hurt consumers – the exact opposite of Mr. Trump’s argument. “Here’s something Republicans used to understand,” said Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE). “Tariffs are taxes on families.” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) echoed Sasse, saying the move was “nothing more than a tax on consumers.” “This is shortsighted and will cost American jobs,” said Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC), who said solar power industry jobs were now at stake in his home state, as that industry denounced the move. As a solar company, we are devastated to learn Trump has imposed a 30% tariff on solar panels virtually killing the solar industry. Solar employs more people than coal and oil combined. today's decision will cause the loss of roughly 23,000 American jobs this year. — Eugene Wilkie (@NOW1SOLAR) January 22, 2018 But for others, the higher tariffs will help preserve jobs, threatened by less inexpensive imports. “This is welcome news for the thousands of Whirlpool workers in Clyde, Ohio, whose jobs have been threatened by a surge of cheap washers,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). “Whirlpool has had to fight a series of cases against companies who would rather cheat than compete,” said Brown’s colleague, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).
  • “When God tells me I gotta do something, I gotta do it,”  when he interrupted the proceedings and implored the jury to return a not guilty verdict in the trial of a Buda woman accused of trafficking a teen girl for sex. The jury ended up finding Gloria Romero-Perez guilty of continuous trafficking of a person and sentenced her to 25 years in prison. They found her not guilty of a separate charge of sale or purchase of a child. Robison, who also presides in Hays and Caldwell counties, is scheduled to return to the bench in Comal County on Jan. 31. His actions could trigger an investigation from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, which has disciplined Robison in the past — in 2011, he improperly jailed a Caldwell County grandfather who had called him a fool.  As news of Robison’s maybe-divinely-inspired comment made the rounds online, many people were shocked at the news.  Here’s a sampling of what people are saying. What do you think? Was the judge out of line? Let us know in the comments.
  • Already raising questions about possible investigatory bias inside the FBI, Republicans in Congress are now demanding more answers about how five months of text messages between two senior FBI employees on the Hillary Clinton email probe, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, were not archived and properly retained by the bureau. “The loss of records from this period is concerning because it is apparent from other records that Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page communicated frequently about the investigation,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) in a letter to the FBI Director. The FBI says the texts weren’t kept because of a misconfiguration of software upgrades on cell phones issued to employees. That explanation fell flat on Capitol Hill. “This is a “my dog ate my homework” level excuse,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC). “Americans deserve to know if there was rampant anti-Trump bias at the FBI, and certainly if there was an effort to cover it up.” How did the FBI lose 5 months of text messages between employees? Read the letter to @FBI Director Wray asking questions about alarming FBI activities here: https://t.co/qHzjpX8p5z pic.twitter.com/3Xb9ZJ54JO — Senator Ron Johnson (@SenRonJohnson) January 22, 2018 The review of how the FBI handled the Clinton email case has gone hand in hand with assertions by Republicans that officials inside the FBI were biased in favor of Clinton, and biased against President Donald Trump, saying that may have bled into the subsequent investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. In a joint statement, three House GOP lawmakers said the details of newly revealed texts were “extremely troubling,” and showed bias involved in the investigation. “The omission of text messages between December 2016 and May 2017, a critical gap encompassing the FBI’s Russia investigation, is equally concerning, ” said Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). The texts between Strzok and Page, would have covered a period during the Trump transition, running up to the time that Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation began. Few specifics were released from the latest batch of FBI texts to detail what exactly the Republicans had found, as GOP lawmakers instead focused on the overall situation – for example, Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) said the texts he saw “revealed manifest bias among top FBI officials.” . @RepRatcliffe on 5-month gap discovered in new FBI texts: 'For former prosecutors like @TGowdySC & myself…it makes it harder & harder for us to explain away one strange coincidence after another.' https://t.co/jTCsiBqaVi pic.twitter.com/yPKVEJoG91 — Fox News (@FoxNews) January 23, 2018 The discovery of the missing texts swiftly brought back memories for Republicans of how thousands of emails went missing of Lois Lerner, a top Internal Revenue Service officials involved in a controversy about bias against more conservative groups seeking non-profit status. Strzok and Page are important figures for two reasons – they were both part of the Clinton email investigation, and then had roles in Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Two were found to be having an affair; Strzok, a senior counterintelligence official, was reassigned from the Mueller probe after the discovery of the text messages between the two.