OF THE OKLAHOMA
Note: For an explanation
of the color-coded statements in the chart, just click on
the the appropriate statement
PHASES OF THE APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS
The State budget can be divided into three stages: executive
preparation and submission to the legislature; approval by
the legislature and the executive; and budgetary execution
by the agencies.
- Although the state fiscal
year begins July 1 and ends on June 30, the appropriations
process for a particular fiscal year begins in September
of the prior year. During that month, Oklahoma's 123 agencies
submit budget requests to the Office
of State Finance (OSF) and the Legislature.
- Through these requests agencies
suggest their appropriations levels, outline their plans
for spending all types of funds, and submit data on performance
- On the first day of legislative
session, the first Monday of February, the Governor proposes
budget recommendations to the Legislature for approval.
The recommendations serve as the Governor's fiscal and policy
priorities for the year.
- The Equalization Board meets
between 35-45 days prior to each session for preliminary
certification of funds. The board is charged with certifying
amounts of all revenues available for legislative appropriation
in a given year. It meets again in February to update revenue
estimates and finalize the Legislature's appropriation authority.
- The Equalization Board
consists of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney
General, State Treasurer, State Auditor and Inspector,
State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and President
of the Agriculture Board. The Office of State Finance
staffs the board with support provided by the Oklahoma
- Each session the appropriations
committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives
review the agencies' requests and Governor's recommendations.
The appropriations committees of each house work in subcommittees
separated by issue areas (such as Education and Public Safety).
- In mid-session the Legislature
approves a General Appropriations (GA) Bill to provide base
budgets of all agencies.
- Legislative decision-making
on incremental changes to budgets, however, does not begin
in earnest until April, several months after the session
convenes. At this point the Legislature refines its priorities
to reflect the limited monies available.
Final spending decisions by the Legislature are made
by the General Conference Committee on Appropriations,
or GCCA. GCCA is structured much like the standing appropriations
committees of each house, with subcommittees responsible
for a group of agencies that perform similar functions.
A key distinction of the GCCA is that its membership consists
of House and Senate members. The two houses negotiate
spending priorities and produce a unified budget together.
The first step of the GCCA consists of the House and Senate
leadership agreeing on how much of the total budget is
allocated to the GCCA subcommittees. This agreement is
known as subcommittee allocations.
Once these allocation amounts are set, the subcommittees
negotiate on the funding needs identified by the agencies
within each subcommittee.
Once GCCA subcommittees agree on a particular agency budget,
the appropriations staffs draft appropriations reconciliation
bills. An appropriations bill normally articulate agency
spending limits, total personnel hiring limits, and the
maximum salaries of directors.
The bills are then approved by a majority of both houses,
the appropriations bill is sent to the Governor.
During a legislative session, the Governor is given five
working days to enact or veto all or part of the bill
(Oklahoma's Governor has authority to line-item veto part
of appropriations bills). After session adjourns, the
Governor has 15 working days to sign or veto a bill; no
action by the Governor constitutes a "pocket veto"
of the legislation.
The Oklahoma Constitution mandates that each fiscal year's
budget be balanced. As a safeguard against revenue shortfalls,
the Oklahoma Constitution states that appropriations cannot
exceed 95% of projected revenues (the remaining 5% is
held in reserve during the fiscal year, and made available
for appropriation as cash at the beginning of the next
- Once a budget is enacted
into law, each agency submits a Budget Work Program (BWP)
for the coming fiscal year to OSF, which can reject a BWP
if it exceeds spending caps or otherwise does not reflect
the intent of legislation.
- Once an agency BWP is approved,
any changes to categories or amounts of expenditures must
be approved by the Joint Legislative Committee on Budget
and Program Oversight.
- The Contingency Review Board
(CRB), composed of the Governor, Senate President Pro Tempore,
and the Speaker of the House, is authorized to make limited
changes to agency budgets when the Legislature is not in
session, a period known as the interim.
- At any time during the fiscal
year, the Legislature can request that agency expenditures
be reviewed and audited to ensure compliance with statutory
of Links in Oklahoma Appropriations Process Overview Chart
Submit Budget Requests to OSF"
- Among its other statutory
duties, the Office of State Finance (OSF) is the executive
agency responsible for preparing the Governor's budget document.
OSF also reviews and recommends the annual budgets for each
state agency. The submission of the budget request to OSF
marks the beginning of the appropriations process. OSF requires
that all state agencies submit their budget needs for the
next fiscal year in September.
Review of Agencies' Budget Request"
- The budget staff of the
Office of State Finance (OSF) reviews the budgets and requests
of all the state agencies. With the direction of the Governor's
Office, OSF prioritizes funding and policy issues to develop
a comprehensive executive budget. This process begins with
the submission of the agency budget requests in September
and culminates with the publication of the executive budget
prior to the beginning of Legislative Session, the first
Monday of February.
submits the Executive Budget to the Legislature"
- Each year, on the first
day of Legislative Session, the first Monday of February,
the Governor submits his or her budget to the Legislature.
The executive budget outlines the Governor's fiscal and
policy priorities for government operation for the next
fiscal year. According to the State Constitution, the proposed
budget must be balanced. A balanced budget occurs when total
revenues equal total expenditures for a fiscal year.
Review of Agency Budgets and Requests"
- During Legislative Session
the Committees on Appropriations of each House operates
through smaller subcommittees that take a more comprehensive
view of government operations by issue area (such as the
Education Subcommittee and the Natural Resources and Regulatory
Services Subcommittee). These subcommittees meet separately
to consider the budget requests of the various state agencies
as well as consider new government program proposals.
The Legislature is also empowered with the role of government
oversight. The Legislature often commissions special studies
and convenes hearings during the interim, when the Legislature
is not formally in Session (the period between June and
January), to review the implementation of state law and
the orderly operations of government.
- The General Appropriations
(G.A.) Bill contains the base appropriations of each state
agency. Typically, this legislation is approved in March.
Passage of the bill assures that government operations will
begin on July 1, the first day of the fiscal year.
- The General Conference Committee
on Appropriations (GCCA) is a continuing conference committee
which makes final spending decisions. GCCA is structured
much like the standing appropriations committees of each
house, with subcommittees responsible for certain issue
areas of government operation (such as Public Safety &
Judiciary and Health & Human Services). A key distinction
of the GCCA is that its membership consists of both House
and Senate members. The two houses negotiate spending priorities
together and produce a unified budget. Final budget decisions
are typically made in May, before the conclusion of Legislative
Submits BWP to OSF for approval"
- Agencies are required submit
a Budget Work Program (BWP) to the Office of State Finance
(OSF) by July 1, the beginning of the fiscal year for review.
The BWP outlines the agency's intended operating and capital
expenditures, sources of all funding, as well as the allocation
of personnel for the duration of the fiscal year. If the
BWP meets the intent of the Legislature and the guidelines
established by law, OSF then approves the implementation
of the BWP.