President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz (R-Altus) announced approval of interim studies requested by members of the Oklahoma Senate. A total of 44 interim study requests were approved.
Schulz’s own request for an interim study will examine apportionments, which are tax dollars siphoned “off the top” rather than being deposited into the General Revenue Fund for appropriation by lawmakers. The look at apportionments is part of the overall effort of Schulz and Senate Republicans to implement long-term reforms in the budget process to yield more stability and reliability in the appropriation process.
“Hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes and fees paid by Oklahomans are being spent via apportionment. It’s time we take a serious look at apportionments and what changes, if any, are needed,” Schulz said. “Apportionments act like automatic paycheck deductions and are useful to ensure priority expenses are paid reliably. But they also greatly reduce the flexibility to shift resources away from lesser priorities because of unexpected or unforeseen costs like a home repair, or in the case of state government, budget shortfalls brought on by economic contraction. If the Legislature were able to control more of the tax revenue collected by the state, lawmakers would have greater ability to avoid or mitigate the impact of budget shortfalls.”
The interim studies have been assigned to the Senate committee with jurisdiction over the subject matter contained within the request. The committee chairs will be responsible for scheduling committee meetings on the requests. Interim studies assigned to the Senate Appropriations Committee will be assigned to appropriations subcommittees.
“Interim studies give lawmakers more time to discuss in-depth and learn more about issues facing the state. Our members are committed to making this an even greater state and I appreciate their willingness to research these important topics to formulate policies that will help our government better serve the citizens of Oklahoma,” Schulz said.