State budget primer: Terms you need to know

Budget & Tax

Curtis Shelton | February 1, 2019

State budget primer: Terms you need to know

Curtis Shelton

With the 2019 legislative session upon us, the state budget discussion will soon move to the forefront. To better help you understand that discussion, OCPA has put together a few definitions of terms you are likely to hear throughout the session. You can also see and search state financial data yourself using OCPA’s data tools.

Fiscal Year: Oklahoma state government’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.

Appropriations: The term appropriation refers to the General Appropriations (GA) Bill passed each year by the Legislature. The GA Bill funds the general operations of state government for the fiscal year. Fiscal year 2019 appropriated $7.55 billion. Because so much of state government is funded in other ways (see Revolving Funds, below), this is less than half of total state spending.

State Board of Equalization: A state agency responsible for providing an estimate of all revenue that will be available for appropriation by the Oklahoma Legislature for the coming fiscal year (this is called the Revenue Certification, see below).

The State Board of Equalization is comprised of seven members:

1.  The Governor
2.  Lieutenant Governor
3.  State Auditor and Inspector
4.  State Treasurer
5.  State Attorney General
6.  State Superintendent
7.   President of the Board of Agriculture

Revenue Certification: A report prepared by the State Board of Equalization three times during the fiscal year: in December, February, and June. The report makes predictions about the amount of money available for each government fund that comprises the total authorized budget for that fiscal year.

The funds included in the revenue certification are as follows:

1.  The General Revenue Fund (GRF)
2.  Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) Fund
3.  Mineral Leasing Fund
4.  Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) Fund
5.  Public Building Fund
6.  Special Cash Fund
7.  Commission of the Land Office Fund
8.  Oklahoma Education Lottery Trust Fund
9.  State Public Safety Fund
10. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Fund

Revolving Funds: Funds that collect revenue and fees which carry over from year to year. That money is then used for a specific purpose created by law. Although there are many, many revolving funds, the most notable include the following:

1.  1017 Fund
2.  Tobacco Settlement Fund
3.  State Transportation Fund
4.  Higher Education Capital Fund

Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR): An annual financial report using Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) standards which shows the financial activities of state government. This is the most accurate source of state government financial data.

Total State Revenue: The sum of all revenue available to the state. This includes all state tax collections, licenses, permits and fees, federal grants, interest and investment revenue, and other revenue sources. Total revenue for fiscal year 2018 was $17.99 billion.

Curtis Shelton Policy Research Fellow

Curtis Shelton

Policy Research Fellow

Curtis Shelton currently serves as a policy research fellow for OCPA with a focus on fiscal policy. Curtis graduated Oklahoma State University in 2016 with a Bachelors of Arts in Finance. Previously, he served as a summer intern at OCPA and spent time as a staff accountant for Sutherland Global Services.

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