The latest version of a budget bill intended to close a $215 million gap has passed the House on Wednesday.
House Bill 1019 passed 56-38. The Senate will take it up Friday.
“The budget plan passed today by the House of Representatives will immediately end the healthcare crisis created by the loss of revenue from the cigarette fee, and will ensure that vital health programs and services will continue without interruption. This plan will also ensure that 12 essential agencies will receive no further cuts during this fiscal year, including common education, corrections and rehabilitation services. While not a perfect solution, this bill absolutely addresses the immediate need," said House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka.
Earlier in the day, Gov. Mary Fallin criticized the lack of progress during the nearly eight-week long special session and the failure to pass the latest bipartisan budget proposal.
"This is not what I want, and I can tell you the majority of the Legislature doesn’t want it either," Fallin said in a statement sent Tuesday night via email by her spokesman Michael McNutt.
This series of bills were introduced Tuesday in House and Senate budget committees. The bills would impose cuts of about 2.5 percent to most agencies to make up for expected revenue lost from an unconstitutional cigarette tax passed in May.
The rest of the $215 million in lost revenue would be filled by using several sources of one-time money, including savings accounts.
During Tuesday’s budget hearings, residents of a local assisted living center urged lawmakers to protect funding for programs to the state’s elderly and disabled.