Stacking Up Oil and Gas States’ ‘Rainy Day Funds’

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Gov. Mary Fallin and legislative leaders have agreed to tap $78.5 million, or about a fifth, of the state’s “Rainy Day Fund” to partially offset current-year cuts to budgets for common education and corrections.

That news was welcomed by state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister and interim Corrections Department Director Joe Allbaugh, who said it would help their agencies avoid some drastic cutbacks that would affect essential services.

But the move also will lower the reserves available to the state to address a projected $1.3 billion budget shortfall in fiscal 2017.

Oklahoma’s emergency fund is relatively small now compared with those of other top oil-producing states, which have suffered from a drop in energy prices. Tax cuts and tax breaks enacted over years also have cut into revenue.