Senator Mike Schulz said there are plenty of encouraging signs that seem to indicate that things are improving, and while it will be another tough year for lawmakers and state agencies, when it comes to finding enough money to supply everything people want, it won't be as rough as this year.
"I expect us to probably be $300-$400 million short of where we were a year ago but, in context a year ago we were $1.2 billion short out of a $7 billion budget. It's still going to be a difficult budget year but hopefully, we see a recovery in this economy," said Schulz.
Senator Schulz pointed out that the oil and gas industry and the agriculture industry are the top two drivers of Oklahoma's economy.
Both sectors are showing signs of recovery, with the price of oil continuing to creep higher after it crashed earlier this year.
"Oil and gas exploration really drives this economy," says Schulz, "So to see prices move back up where they can profitably explore oil and gas again is a huge thing for the state of Oklahoma."
And following years of drought, area ranchers, and farmers are also beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.
"If we see ag commodity prices, primary grain, and cattle start to move back up. That aids the recovery as well," said Schulz
Senator Schulz will be in a strong position to shape legislation to help our economy, and the other issues facing our state in his new position as the leader of the Senate.
"I've been floor leader for the past six years. In that job capacity, I managed the legislation through committees and through floor process. The Pro-Tem position, the role there is, the day-to-day operations of the Senate both in session and out of session, so I have a little more authority than as floor leader, a little bigger job responsibility."
Miss Oklahoma 2016 Sarah Klein also spoke at the luncheon.
Klein discussed her platform topic "Deployment to Employment," to help potential employees who are also veterans transition from the military into the civilian workforce.