[Oklahoma City, OK, December 16, 2016] Statement by The Oklahoma Democratic Party on Oklahoma’s projected $600 million 2017 budget shortfall:

Next week the State Board of Equalization will meet to certify available revenues, likely returning a projected budget shortfall between $500 and $600 million. Fallin stated earlier this week that “It’s going to be a challenging year.” Such rhetoric is an understatement considering that teachers and legislators are hoping to tackle increasing teacher’s pay with such a surmountable crisis.

Despite Fallin’s optimistic outlook that the increase in oil and natural gas prices will help boost revenue, it’s difficult to believe that a volatile energy industry can and should be the state’s primary resource for climbing out of this hole. Instead, State leaders need to concentrate on diversifying state revenue and focus on reigning in corporate welfare. If Fallin hopes to rely on the energy sector to boost revenue, then it is time to renegotiate oil and gas tax deals so that we not only fill the budget hole but we also create a budget surplus that allows our state to improve education, healthcare, and another state services.

Oklahoma Democratic Party