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Could COVID-19 force state lawmakers in early?

COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it’s having a major impact on oil prices, and that could force state lawmakers back to the capital early.

55% of state revenue is connected to oil production and extraction taxes.

And even though March revenues came in ahead of projections, April and beyond is expected to be a much different story because budgets were based on higher oil projections that won’t happen.

The low amount of oil revenues, coupled with a much higher use of unemployment, is putting a major strain on the state’s finances.

Because of that, certain bills, like the Prairie Dog Bill, might not have the funds available that were initially forecasted.

KX News spoke with one lawmaker who feels the legislature could meet for a special session, once they figure out how bad the damage is.

“I think we’re probably going to see the government use an allotment at some point in the future once our revenue forecasts come in and we see how much of a shortfall, or we start to see the shortfall, and then I think we will end up going back into a special session later on in the summer so that we can do some of the more intricate adjustments to the budget,” said Rep. Shannon Roers Jones.

She adds once the 2021 session gets underway in January, you can almost guarantee budget cuts, especially to programs tied to oil revenues.

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