Pfeiffer gives update on state budget process

May 14, 2024 | Headlines

By Rep. John Pfeiffer

OKLAHOMA CITY — The state budget process is ongoing. In late fall each year, both House and Senate appropriations subcommittees hold public meetings with each agency that receives state funding. Agency directors present their budget requests for the next fiscal year and give details of prior-year spending on programs and services that benefit Oklahoma.

In January each year, the House invites the six agencies that receive the most in appropriations to appear before the full membership to participate in similar budget hearings.

John Pfeiffer serves District 38 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. His district includes Grant County and parts of Garfield, Kay, Logan and Noble counties.

All meetings are public, and any member is allowed to ask questions. The work informs our budget process during the legislative session.

Traditionally, House and Senate budget leaders take the agency requests as well as the work done by their subcommittee chairs, and they negotiate what will become the language of the general appropriations bill. The legislation runs through each chamber’s appropriations committees and the Joint Committee on Appropriations & Budget before coming to a vote before the full House and Senate. Again, members in committee and on the floor are allowed to ask questions and debate the measures.

There’s been a call in recent year to make negotiations public and to slow the process a bit so the public has more time to examine the budget legislation before it comes for a vote. This year, the House and Senate have gathered with the governor for a series of budget summits. These are being aired on Gov. Kevin Stitt’s YouTube channel. Those who are listening in are no doubt getting their fill of the back and forth over tax cuts, line-items for each state agency and more minutia than the average person cares for. But that’s the way negotiations typically work. 

In addition to all of the above, the House this year produced a new budget transparency portal on our website, okhouse.gov. This shows the public the proposed budget for every agency that receives state funding, comparing appropriations for Fiscal Year 24 vs. what the agency requested for FY25 and what the House and the Senate are proposing for the next fiscal year and the percentage of change from the previous year. The information is updated each Friday as negotiations continue.

If you’ve ever wanted a front-row seat to the state budget process, this is your year.

At the same time, the House and Senate are still hearing bills amended in the opposite chamber. If amendments are accepted, the legislation moves to the governor for his consideration of signing it into law. If amendments are rejected, the authors can request conference committee. Committee members are assigned by each chamber to work on final language of the bills to be brought back for a vote in each chamber. Many bills die in this process due to lack of consensus, but a few make it through.

The governor, meanwhile, is still signing legislation into law.

We have until 5 p.m. May 31 to conclude our work in regular session.

As always, if you have concerns about bills, or problems I can assist you in solving, please reach out to me at john.pfeiffer@okhouse.gov or call my office at 405-557-7332.