Monday, March 4, 2013

Bill Requiring Agencies to Prepare for Fiscal Emergency Passes the House Floor

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed House Speaker T.W. Shannon’s major initiative to prepare the state for a major cut in federal funding and still maintain core services for the people of Oklahoma.

House Bill 1917 initiates the Oklahoma State Finance Act, which calls for every state agency to report and prioritize all federal funding. The bill also mandates all state agencies create a contingency plan in preparation of a 25 percent reduction in federal funds.

“Today, more than 40 percent of our annual state budget is based on federal tax dollars,” said Speaker Shannon, R-Lawton. “The endless mandates and the lack of leadership from Washington, D.C. have left Oklahoma and the other 49 states dangerously dependent on federal funds and on the verge of a fiscal emergency.” 

The federal government came close to ending federal tax breaks and stopping funding to many programs in December 2012. The media dubbed that possible scenario as “the fiscal cliff” due to the tremendous impact it would have had on state budgets and family incomes. The country once again faced a similar financial “doomsday” scenario on March 1. Neither Congress nor President Obama acted to avoid this, and the country is now in sequestration.

If passed by the Senate and signed by Gov. Mary Fallin, HB 1917 will go into immediate effect as an emergency action.

HB 1917 will now move on to the Senate.

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