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Oklahoma Credit Outlook Improves
OKLAHOMA CITY – Saying Oklahoma state government has done well managing its finances during the pandemic, Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings has revised the state’s outlook from negative to stable, State Treasurer Randy McDaniel announced today.
S&P had placed the state on negative outlook at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. With the revision announcement, the state’s current credit rating of AA was affirmed.
Treasurer McDaniel said the outlook change is encouraging and should help the state reduce interest costs on future bond issues.
“State leaders have exercised fiscal discipline during the pandemic,” McDaniel said. “This announcement from a widely respected independent source is welcome news.”
The S&P outlook change also anticipates responsible decision-making will continue.
The report states the revision is based, in part, on “the expectation that Oklahoma’s legislative and executive branches will reach consensus on actions to restore and maintain structural balance in future budgets and sustain a commitment to rebuilding reserves.”
The state’s primary reserve funds are the Constitutional Reserve Fund and the Revenue Stabilization Fund. They currently contain approximately $230 million, which is about 3 percent of general revenue appropriations. The combined balance topped $1 billion prior to the pandemic.
Other factors cited by S&P for its more favorable outlook include the state’s relatively low debt burden and its decade-long history of sufficient pension funding.
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For more information contact:
Tim Allen, Deputy Treasurer for Communications & Program Administration
SB 1933 authorized $16 million for new construction at the Greer Facility in Enid, Oklahoma. The Greer Center is the only privately operated, state-owned treatment facility in Oklahoma. It serves adults who are dually diagnosed with intellectual disability as well as mental illness. Opening in 1989, the DHS facility operates in the northeast corner of the defunct Northern Oklahoma Resource Center Enid Campus. The new building will replace the buildings located in the center that were built in the 1980's.
SB1941 authorized OCIA to secure $48.6 million for the Oklahoma Depart of Tourism's State Park construction, repair and rehab of facilities. A minimum of $3 million will be set aside specifically for Quartz Mountain, located in the southwest part of the state. Other projects include cabins, group camps, boat ramps, docks, roofing, infrastructure updates and many more. OK State Parks has reported that parks have seen 2.5 million visitors since the pandemic. Other state parks receiving repairs include Roman Nose, Beaver's Bend, Lake Murry and more.
$200 million was authorized by HB 2744 to provide funding for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation's Construction Work Plan. The plan calls for construction, maintenance and improvements to state highway and state bridge assets located throughout the state. For more information, see ODOT's current work plan here 8_year_construction_work_plan.pdf (odot.org) .
The Project has been named the “Next Generation Facility” or “NGF” for short. The NGF will be constructed on the grounds of the current Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center (the “COJC”) location in Tecumseh, Oklahoma. The NGF will consolidate the three existing OJA secure care facilities located across the State, including the COJC. The COJC is on 30 developed acres of a 147.7 acre plot and has been in use since 1919.
The NGF will include up to nine cottages that will provide living quarters for up to 144 residents. The Project is being planned and staged to minimize disruption to the day-to-day operations of the COJC, which will continue to house youth during the construction of the Project. This centralized campus will replace obsolete housing units that were designed and built for other purposes and other populations.
The NGF will focus on providing rehabilitative and therapeutic services in a specifically designed facility for juvenile justice programming. The NGF will encompass residential cottages for male and female youth in OJA’s care along with a modern health services building. To help its residents be physically active, the Project includes a regulation size soccer field that may also be used for football and baseball/softball, and two outside basketball courts (one for each of the male and female residents).
Consolidation of OJA’s three existing secure care facilities into the NGF will result in a more therapeutic environment for its residents and better working conditions for OJA staff, and will also result in significant savings by consolidating services such as cafeteria, laundry and maintenance. Further, use of technology and smart housing unit design in the NGF will allow OJA staff to be more efficient and effective.
Governor Kevin Stitt, Chairman
Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell, Vice Chairman
State Treasurer Randy McDaniel, Secretary
Director Steven Harpe, Member
Office of Management and Enterprise Services
Commissioner Charles Prater, Member
Oklahoma Tax Commission
Secretary Tim Gatz, Member
Secretary of Transportation, Executive Director of ODOT
Executive Director of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority
Secretary Justin Brown, Member
Secretary of Human Services and Childhood Initiatives, Director of OKDHS
Director Jerry Winchester, Member
Executive Director of Tourism and Recreation