Some Oklahoma Agencies Face Deep Cuts With Governor's Proposed Budget

Tuesday, February 15th 2011, 9:20 pm
By: News On 6

Ashli Sims, News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma once again facing more than $500 million budget hole. Governor Mary Fallin released her first budget proposal last week.

Governor Fallin's plan is a combination of spending cuts, hiring freezes, and increased revenue. She is calling for about $300 million worth of cuts to state agencies.

The governor promised to go through the budget with a scalpel, not a hatchet.

She wanted to protect education, health, human services and public safety. In her plan, they would all got about a three percent cut. All other agencies would get about five percent

2/7/2011 Related Story: Governor Mary Fallin Proposes 5 Percent Cuts For Most State Agencies

But when you drill down into some of the numbers, the cuts go far deeper.

For example, the ABLE Commission, which among other things, makes sure alcohol isn't sold to minors, could take a 42 and a half percent cut.

The Human Rights Commission, which handles hundreds of discrimination complaints every year, could be cut by 65 percent.

CLEET, charged with training and certifying police officers, could be slashed by more than a third.

The Governor's office says all of those agencies are getting consolidated or absorbed into other agencies and they should still be able to do their jobs.

But News On 6 reporter Ashli Sims spoke with the head of the Human Rights Commission who said the kind of cuts the Governor is proposing would "render [his agency] ineffective."

The Governor is calling for hard hiring freezes and stepping up income tax audits.

She wants to shutter more than $100 million in information technology projects.  Her plan taps the last of the federal stimulus money and borrows from tax revenue dedicated for transportation.

She wants to modernize the government, switching from paper checks to electronic deposits, which she says could save the state millions.

if it all works, she says the state could end up $100 million in the black.