A budget deal is reached between Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt and lawmakers. Under the plan, education funding would increase by 74-million-dollars, and most teachers would get a 12-hundred-dollar pay raise. The measure also would place 200-million-dollars into the Rainy Day Savings Fund. Stitt says the budget includes no new taxes.
“This year’s budget is historic. Holding firm to my commitment of no new taxes, we will put away $200 million more in savings while also increasing the state’s investment in core services by more than five percent,” said Gov. Stitt. “For the first time in state history, we will increase Oklahoma’s savings account, in order to protect core services in the future, without the law forcing it. For the first time in state history, we will give Oklahoma teachers a pay raise for a second year in a row. For the first time in state history, we will fully fund the Reading Sufficiency Act while also putting an additional $74 million into the funding formula for local classroom needs. For the first time in state history, we will fully fund our roads and bridges, and we will also make the largest deposit into the Quick Action closing fund, helping Oklahoma compete for new jobs. We will move the needle in criminal justice reform by investing in drug courts and diversion programs, and we will reform District Attorneys’ funding model so they are not reliant on high fines, fees and court costs that have created a debtor’s prison. We will prioritize funding for oversight, transparency and audits as well as funding to modernize the delivery of state services, making it customer-focused and cost efficient. Congratulations to the Legislature and leadership for their hard work; I am committed to helping carry it across the finish line as the Legislature works to send this fiscally responsible budget to my desk for signature.”
“This is an amazing budget deal that makes huge investments in classroom funding, teacher pay, mental health, corrections and other critical areas all while holding back $200 million in savings,” said President Pro Temp Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City. “We can make investments in core services, while still showing fiscal restraint to prepare and save for tougher economic times. Working together, we’ve accomplished an incredible amount this session. When history looks back at this session and this budget deal, it will be recorded as one of the most significant in history. I appreciate the work of the Senate appropriations chair and subcommittee chairs for their tireless and diligent work to craft this incredible budget. I also thank Governor Stitt and Speaker McCall for their leadership and willingness to work with me to ensure all of our priorities were fulfilled in this budget. It’s a great day for Oklahoma and the investments we are making in this budget will help us achieve our goal of making Oklahoma an even better state!”
“This budget agreement moves Oklahoma forward by increasing funding for education, rural infrastructure, public safety and healthcare,” said Speaker McCall, R-Atoka. “We believe increasing teacher pay directly addresses the teacher shortage by incentivizing new teachers into the classroom and keeping the veteran teachers we already have. The Legislature has now increased the common education budget by more than 26 percent during the last two years. We are also prioritizing funding for county roads and bridges, nursing homes, concurrent enrollment programs for high school juniors and seniors and pay increases for corrections officers in our prisons and all other state employees. This budget is an investment in Oklahoma, and I am very grateful for my colleagues in the House, Senate leadership and Gov. Stitt for their hard work during budget negotiations.”
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