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Budget Agreement Announced

Posted by Michael McNutt, The Oklahoman

Gov. Brad Henry and legislative leaders  announced late last Thursday, an agreement on how the state’s reserve funds should be used to fill the state’s budget hole for this fiscal year.

The agreement calls for using $223.5 million of the state’s savings account, the Rainy Day Fund, for this fiscal year and $223.5 million to be available for the upcoming 2011 fiscal year, which starts July 1. That would leave about $149 million in the Rainy Day Fund.

House and Senate budget committee members approved bills Thursday that authorized where the money would be spent. The governor didn’t sign off on the agreement until about six hours later.

Henry had wanted to use most of the Rainy Day Fund to balance out the 2010 fiscal year. He proposed using about $484 million for this fiscal year and using about $61 million for the 2011 fiscal year. His plan left about $43 million in the fund.

The agreement also includes funds to help agencies get through this fiscal year and to make up some of the losses caused by across-the-board budget cuts put in place since August.

Public schools will get about $104 million, which includes $50 million to make up a shortfall in the House Bill 1017 fund, higher education gets $25.6 million, the state’s health care authority gets $33 million, corrections gets $7.2 million and the Public Safety Department gets $3 million.

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