Lawmakers Continue Debate For Budget Solution

Monday, November 13th 2017, 8:55 am
By: Grant Hermes

Monday marks the beginning of week 8 of the special session at the Oklahoma Capitol.

Lawmakers are still at an impasse over how to fill the state's $215 million budget hole. 

There are a number of options left on the table including a new plan that we expect to see rolled out early this week by the House. 

That plan would mean dipping into the state's revolving funds. 

According to some lawmakers, there's as much as $1.3 billion in one-time money in those accounts. 

But the governor and Senate leadership have said they will not support using one-time money saying they want a real reoccurring solution.

Lawmakers could also decide to raid what's known as carry-over funds, but again, those are only one-time funds that would do nothing to stave off next year's anticipated budget hole of more than $400 million. 

Other avenues include more deep cuts to agencies, a way of managing the budget crisis by spreading the pain beyond the state's largest health care agencies. 

They could also do nothing. Forcing the departments of human services, mental health and health to make tens of millions of dollars worth of cuts. The impact of that, according to the governor, would affect services for nearly one million Oklahomans. 

There is one final option -- the House could vote again on the budget plan that failed last week. Republican leadership "captured" the measure last week. It would still need 76 votes to pass and last week, it only got 71. There is the potential enough no votes could be flipped to yeses if that bill comes up again.