Another Budget Deal Falls Through In OK
OKLAHOMA CITY - Another day, another budget deal falls through as state lawmakers continue bickering over how to fill the roughly $900 million gap.
“I don’t believe them, ladies and gentlemen,” Representative Scott Inman (D) House Minority Leader told the press. “I don’t believe their words. I don’t believe they’re negotiating in good faith.”
Inman said republican leaders told him they would take the terms of a deal they negotiated Wednesday night to rank and file members, but he said they lied and instead reneged on the deal.
“And if they continue to be disingenuous and tell me fabricated stories it’s only going to serve to anger my caucus because we’re negotiating in good faith," he said.
Inman said republican and democratic leaders agreed to raise the gross production tax; that’s the tax on oil and gas production, to five percent. That’s been a major sticking point in negotiations. In exchange democrats would back a cigarette tax.
But this morning Inman told the press the deal is off because of republicans.
“Because of their inaction. Because of their refusal to tell the oil and gas industry no, we’re looking at a special session.” Inman said.
Republican Representative Bobby Cleveland (R) Cleveland County disagrees.
“This whole thing’s about leader Inman. His ego. He’s running for governor, he’s trying to get press time," he said.
Republican leaders would not answer our questions on camera, but did send out this tweet saying: “Speaker McCall and Pro Tem Schulz waiting on Leader Inman to finish his press conference and resume budget negotiations.”
“That’s cute of them to do that right?” Inman said, “But if they really wanted to negotiate in good faith then they would be men of their word.”
A spokesman for the house speaker did say negotiations continue, but house members have been told to prepare to work through the weekend.