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Bill would slash state spending

The Legislature is one step away from sending Gov. Mary Fallin a new budget bill that would cut state spending by $60 million and use millions in one-time revenues to bridge the state's $215 million budget gap.

The House of Representatives voted 56-38 to approve House Bill 1019 after more than two hours of debate Wednesday.

The proposal, which is expected to be considered by the Senate either today or Friday, could lead to the end of the special session that has moved into its eighth week.

The proposal would avoid cuts to critical state services, including the Department of Corrections, the Department of Health and K-12 education. It also gives the Oklahoma Department of Health $30 million in new funds that officials say is needed after an apparent mismanagement of funds within the agency was discovered earlier this month.

But the proposal calls for 1 to 2.5 percent cuts for most agencies and uses carry-over funds and agency revolving funds to fill the rest of the shortfall. This includes a $17.3 million, or 2.2 percent, reduction for higher education, which has faced a series of cuts over the past several years.

In addition to the $60 million in cuts, the bill calls for the use of $23 million in leftover funds from last year and $60 million in agency revolving funds to shore up the state's budget.

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