DHS warns of 'catastrophic budget cuts'

Posted at 9:38 AM, Apr 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-23 10:38:15-04

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma Department of Human Services is warning of catastrophic cuts to programs and services for vulnerable citizens and considering closing some county offices and laying off employees amid the state's budget crisis.

DHS Director Ed Lake says in a letter sent Friday to employees and contractors that the agency already is grappling with a $150 million hole in its current budget from a combination of state cuts, increased costs and dwindling federal funds.

Lake says DHS is considering fee increases to support its oversight, licensing and enforcement programs, along with cuts to programs that support the elderly and disabled. He added that many contracts with outside vendors will be reduced or eliminated entirely.

Lake says the agency also is planning for potential employee layoffs.

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