Senate Passes Bill To Bridge Budget Deficit

Tuesday, November 7th 2017, 8:14 am
By: Grant Hermes

Oklahoma may be one step closer to having a budget. 

State senators passed a deal Monday and are now calling on their counterparts in the House to do the same

There are a few problems this proposal could face including whether it could be illegal. 

The plan includes a 4 percent increase on the gross production tax on new oil and gas wells,  a tobacco fee, a $0.06 per gallon tax on gas and an increase in the tax on beer. 

It passed the Senate with a 37-5 vote, but there are already questions mounting about problems with the way the plan was written. 

The Senate amended a bill that had already been passed by the House, but because money raising measures have to start in the House there are concerns this Senate plan could be ruled unconstitutional even if the House approves it. 

Senate leadership downplayed those concerns Monday. 

"We are confident that this measure is constitutional int he way we amended it," Senate Majority Floor Leader Greg Treat said.

"Let's bring this session to an end. Let's find a way forward for our state. Let's fund these core services for our people, (and) show the people that we can get our job done," Gov. Mary Fallin said.

According to the governor, services to nearly one million people could be affected if a budget deal isn't reached, and the fallout from something like that would impact practically every single Oklahoman.

The measure still has to pass the House, which, according to its website, will not meet Tuesday. 

The House joint committee on the budget, however, is scheduled to meet at 3 p.m.