19 December 2002
Slash, then slash some more
For fiscal year 2004, the state of Oklahoma will have approximately $600 million less to spend, a ten-percent hit to the state's budget.
That's the glum story from the Office of State Finance, which each year is required to produce revenue projections for the next year. The Board of Equalization may tweak the figures before the Legislature approves a budget in February. But there's simply no way to tweak away a deficit this large, and since the state Constitution prohibits deficit spending, there will be cuts. Big cuts. The state income tax will rise slightly because of an automatic indexing provision enacted a few years back, but the operative word is "slightly".
It's going to be a long year for state planners.