Looming fiscal cliff could pose problems in Okla.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- State officials warn that failure of Congress to address the nation's looming fiscal cliff could have dire consequences for state programs in Oklahoma beginning as early as next year.

Oklahoma's Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger (DOR'-fling-ur) told a House panel on Monday the state could lose $137 million in direct federal funding as a result of sequestration, commonly called the fiscal cliff, which refers to the automatic, government-wide spending cuts set to take effect Jan. 1.

More than $50 million of those cuts would be to education programs, but Doerflinger says they also would affect health and human services, public safety and general government.

Incoming House Speaker T.W. Shannon requested Monday's study as a way for the state to prepare for the likely loss of federal funds.

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