After months of collaboration and discussion, Senate and House leadership have released the proposed Fiscal Year 2022 budget, which will begin on July 1.
I’m thrilled this budget makes substantial investments in public education, to the tune of an additional $171.8 million, meaning common education will receive a record-setting $3.2 billion in funding.
This budget also makes rural Oklahoma a priority, especially when it comes to high-speed internet connectivity and broadband access. It creates a $42 million tax incentive for providers to expand broadband to underserved areas across the state.
We also know the importance of saving for the future and unforeseen events, so we are setting aside $800 million to put into savings. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that in order to ensure our state’s future stability, we must have a savings cushion we can fall back on. State agencies were able to continue with their services during the pandemic because of funds we had previously set aside. This deposit into savings will bring the account back up to pre-pandemic levels.
I’m very pleased with where we ended up in this budget. After an economically devastating year, our economy has rebounded nicely, and we were able to maintain core service funding while providing tax relief to individuals and businesses and make targeted investments in key priority areas. I’ll keep you updated as the budget works through the legislative process.
I was honored to carry the nomination of Judge Brian Mitchell to the Military Court of Appeals for a new position as an appellate military judge through the end of 2025. Judge Mitchell’s nomination passed easily through the Senate, and I’m looking forward to seeing him succeed in his service to our state and nation.
Finally, it was a busy weekend across Senate District 19. I had a great time in Wakita celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Oklahoma movie “Twister,” which was filmed in the town during the summer of 1995. I also joined Rep. Carl Newton at the unveiling of the Marshall McCulley sculpture at the Sod House Museum in Aline, which is the state’s last remaining sod house. Our district is filled with history, and I always enjoy getting to soak it in.
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your state Senator. Please feel free to reach out if there is anything we can help you with. You can contact me at 405-521-5630 or via email at Roland.Pederson@oksenate.gov.