McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State news

June 5, 2014

Winners and losers in the fiscal year 2015 budget

OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Mary Fallin on Tuesday signed into law a $7.1 billion general appropriations bill that funds state government for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Some of the winners and losers in that budget follow.

Winners

Education:

K-12 schools received a boost of $80 million — $40 million for health care costs and $40 million for classrooms, while funding levels for career and technology centers and colleges and universities were maintained at current levels.

Public Safety:

Most public safety agencies received funding boosts to pay for increased worker salaries, including the Department of Corrections, State Bureau of Investigation, Department of Public Safety, Pardon and Parole Board, and Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

— Human Services: The Department of Human Services received an overall increase of about 7.1 percent from last year’s budget. This includes funding to improve child welfare services ($35 million), targeted pay raises ($7.6 million), and services for adults and children with disabilities ($1 million).

Losers

American Indian Cultural

Center and Museum:

A plan to appropriate $40 million that would be matched with another $40 million in pledges from private donors, tribes and Oklahoma City couldn’t get passed in the House. The museum sits unfinished along the banks of the Oklahoma River, near the intersection of Interstates 35 and 40.

Oklahoma Health Care

Authority:

The state agency charged with overseeing the state’s Medicaid program received no increase in state funding, despite growing costs and a reduction in federal matching dollars. As a result, the agency expects to reduce its reimbursement rates for doctors and hospitals and take other steps to scale back medical services for the poor.

Most state agencies:

More than 50 state agencies will receive cuts averaging 5.5 percent. Among these are the Department of Transportation, the Office of Disability Concerns, the Department of Labor, Insurance Department, Tax Commission, and Emergency Management.

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