State faces $416 million revenue failure

Kayla Branch The Oklahoman
Gov. Kevin Stitt. Oklahoman file

OKLAHOMA CITY — A state revenue failure of roughly $416 million is expected for the rest of Fiscal Year 2020, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced last week.

The loss in revenue comes from economic turmoil during the COVID-19 pandemic and the drastic decline in the oil and gas industry.

“This revenue failure is not unexpected,” Stitt said in a press release Friday. “Times like these further reinforce how critically important it was for our House and Senate leadership to work with me to save an additional $200 million during last year’s budget surplus.”

Stitt called for a virtual meeting of the state Board of Equalization on Monday to start the process of allowing the Legislature to tap into the Rainy Day Fund, according to the release.

The fund currently holds $806 million, but the state has more than $1 billion in total savings.

Normally, according to the release, the revenue failure would have required a 6.2% budget cut for all state agencies.

But the Legislature will be able to access up to roughly $500 million of Rainy Day funding.

Those funds should limit cuts to state agencies as demand for services spikes. The Legislature will be meeting next week to discuss the budget.

“When our health department officials, public safety workers, emergency responders and so many others are working tirelessly to help the people of Oklahoma, I want everyone to know that we will prioritize protecting our core services for dealing with the COVID-19 crisis,” Stitt said.