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Stitt signs $12.5 billion budget, praises transparency

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Stitt signs $12.5 billion budget, praises transparency

Jun 13, 2024 | 12:52 pm ET
By Emma Murphy
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Stitt signs $12.5 billion budget, praises transparency
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Gov. Kevin Stitt answers questions from the media on May 10 at the Oklahoma State Capitol. Stitt approved the budget for fiscal year 2025 on Wednesday. (Photo by Janelle Stecklein/Oklahoma Voice)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a $12.5 billion budget package Wednesday.

He praised House and Senate leadership for the transparency involved in the budget process this year. 

“This was the most transparent budget process in state history, and that is something to be proud of,” Stitt said.

Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, made transparency of the budget process a top priority for his final session. Oklahomans had the opportunity to watch the budget process through live streams of the legislators negotiating. 

“I am proud the Senate showed true leadership in the budget transparency process and pleased the governor decided to sign it into law, while backing down from a tax cut that would have put the state on an unsustainable financial path for future legislators,” Treat said in a statement. 

In a statement from House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, he thanked Stitt for signing the agreement and praised the legislature for lowering spending by 5.3% from last fiscal year. 

“We appreciate Gov. Stitt honoring his commitment to sign and support a strong budget made possible due to the economic environment created by Conservative leadership in the House,” McCall said. 

Highlights of the spending package include a $25 million increase in formula funding for the Department of Education among other items. 

Millions were allocated for higher education and career technical school funding, including $27.6 million to CareerTech to address waiting lists and admit more students as well as a $240 million allocation to the state’s two flagship universities for new engineering and science facilities.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority received $30 million to increase long-term care provider rates. The Department of Public Safety will complete a new training facility in Lincoln County with $74 million from the budget and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations received $27.5 million for new headquarters. 

A further $350 million was set aside for deferred maintenance and $45 million in disaster relief funding was allocated to counties recently impacted by tornadoes. 

The agreement also included a $50 million increase on the $150 million cap for a tax credit program provided to Oklahomans sending their children to private schools. Sen. Julia Kirt, D-Oklahoma City, said this gave bigger increases to private schools than public schools. 

The grocery tax cut was also celebrated as a victory by Republican leadership. 

“I’m also proud to have co-authored the largest tax cut in state history in eliminating the state portion of the grocery tax. Once it goes into effect, it will represent more money in the pockets of all 4 million Oklahomans,” said Treat in a statement. 

Stitt called the tax cut the “largest single tax cut delivered to taxpayers in state history” and thanked Treat and McCall for leaving a “legacy of transparency” behind as they leave office. 

“I look forward to working with their successors and expanding on those relationships and the progress made this year,” Stitt said.