Joint Budget Committee To Meet Tuesday To Discuss Plan

Tuesday, October 24th 2017, 8:13 am
By: Grant Hermes

It took less than 24 hours for a newly-proposed Republican state budget began showing signs of problems in the Republicans’ own backyard. 

Posting on Facebook, Rep. Roger Ford, R-Midwest City, said the new budget would “go down in flames.”

“The plan presented by the Governor [Mary Fallin on Monday] morning does NOT (sic) represent the platforms of either the Republican or Democrat (sic) party, so I'm not sure who or what it represents,” he wrote in a post. "This has been the most childish process I have ever witnessed and I'm ashamed to be a part of it."

Ford's post included a photo, reading, “This is not rocket science people!”

The proposed budget was developed without input from Democrats and while it includes several ideas supported by left-leaning think tanks, including a $0.06 tax on gas, a $1.50 tax on a pack of cigarettes and a return of the earned income tax credit refund. It does not include an increase in the gross production tax (GPT) in oil and gas. The tax was a key provision Democrats said they need in order to support any budget deal. 

"This package is not perfect but it is very good.  And I think it is something that all parties should support," Fallin said at a press conference Monday morning with Republican leadership from both chambers of the Legislature.  

One Republican lawmaker who agreed to speak on background prior to the press conference said the budget talks were “not the way [he] would have done it,” adding current public dissatisfaction in Republicans was justified.   

“The public is with the Democrats, and you know what? I agree with it,” he said. 

The new budget is being roundly criticized and opposed by Democrats. Writing on Twitter, Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, wrote, “Capitol Republicans will announce a completely regressive revenue package this morning. No GPT, no high earner income tax.”

Republicans need 21 votes from their colleagues across the aisle to pass the newly proposed budget. Revenue measures need 75 percent of the vote to pass according to state law. There are also rumors of another budget proposal that Republicans could pass with a simple majority, although it’s unclear how that would pass the constitutional revenue rule or overtake members who echo the sentiments expressed by Ford.

The House rules committee is expected to meet at 11 a.m. Tuesday. The Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget will meet at 1:30 p.m.