Agencies bemoan revenue decline

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma School for the Blind's nearly
$4 million budget request includes a laundry list of improvements
to the state-funded school for visually impaired students.

Things like hiring an arts and humanities teacher, replacing the
school's 10-year-old computers, additional security officers and
upgrades to the Muskogee-based school's 80-year-old gymnasium.

But a stumbling economy and declining state revenue make it
uncertain whether state lawmakers will be able to fulfill them.

A preliminary budget forecast for the upcoming fiscal year
indicates the 2009 Oklahoma Legislature will have nearly $310
million less to spend next year than it did this year.

That means lawmakers will have the authority to appropriate
about $6.8 billion for the fiscal year that begins July 1, a
decrease of 4.4 percent from the current year's $7.1 billion
budget. The figures will not be final until they are certified
today by the Board of Equalization.

In the meantime, administrators and employees at state agencies
will have to set aside their budget requests for 2010 and decide
how best to do more with less.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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