by State Representative Kevin Wallace, Oklahoma House District 32
With all of the current focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, it is easy to forget other things.
One item that is still incredibly important for our state, however, is the Census. Getting an accurate count of how many people live in Oklahoma helps us secure appropriate federal funding for many programs and services that help us take care of the needs of our citizens. We see right now how invaluable this is. It also helps ensure Oklahomans are appropriately represented both in state government and at the national level.
Please take a moment now to fill out your Census information. The easiest way to do this is online at https://www.census.gov. It takes just a few moments to answer a few questions. Right now may actually be the perfect time to do this, with so many Oklahomans working from home or having extra time at home due to the pandemic.
For those without internet, you can call in and answer questions at (844) 330-2020, or you can mail back the paper questionnaire sent to your home in the return envelope provided or, if you have lost the envelope, to the U.S. Census Bureau National Processing Center, 1201 E 10th Street, Jeffersonville, IN 47132.
On another note, I and other leaders in the House and Senate continue to work with the governor’s office on the state budget. Because of the current pandemic and the severe drop in the price of oil and gas, we will be declaring a revenue failure in the amount of more than $416 million for the current fiscal year (FY20). The state Board of Equalization will be holding a special meeting via Zoom at 1 p.m. Monday, April 6 to report the exact amount we will be short this year. The legislature will appropriate funds from the Rainy Day Fund to the General Revenue Fund to make up for the revenue failure. These funds will be added to the state’s General Revenue Fund in order to continue making appropriations to state agencies as determined in the original FY20 budget.
We also continue to work on the Fiscal Year 2021 budget that will be passed by the Legislature before we adjourn our session this year.
I know things look grim at the moment, but we will get through this, and we will see better days in the future. Continue to take care of yourself and those you love.
Kevin Wallace is the state representative for House District 32, which includes all of Lincoln County and a small portion of Logan County. He is the chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee and also serves on the house Natural Resources and Wildlife Committees. A lifelong Lincoln County native and Wellston High School graduate, he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1993. Kevin founded American Cellular Service and Dynatek Development Services, which he sold in 2000. That same year he founded SWT Construction, where he continues to serve as a manager. He also owns an equipment rental company and a small investment firm. Kevin is co-owner of The Wilderness Refuge, a hunting reserve, and Wallahachie L.L.C., a whitetail deer and cattle breeding operation. He is an active member of First Baptist Church of Wellston.