Oklahoma's budget problems not getting any better

Thursday, April 17th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The upcoming state budget reflects the grim economic news. Government services are shrinking because of a projected $677-million gap between what we expect to take in and what we plan to spend.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says the state always spends just about every dollar available - so as soon as the dollars begin to dry up - the cutbacks come quickly.

Many state services and benefits have already been cut - but the deepest cuts won't come until after June 1st - when the new - dramatically smaller budget kicks in.

Even big, bold cuts wouldn't be enough. State Senator Stratton Taylor, (D) Claremore: “If you were to abolish ODOT, take every trooper off the road - close veterans center, close mental health hospital, fire 3900 teachers take 10,000 seniors out of nursing homes and take OETA off the air, you couldn't close this budget gap."

But those are cuts that won't be made - instead it will be smaller cuts across every program and agency. Parents of school age children will notice bigger class sizes and more cuts at school.

People on state funded welfare programs will get less than they do now. Some state employees will be laid off. It's the same sort of thing happening in the private sector - and the government is catching up.