Capitol Week In Review: Lawmakers Grapple With Growing Budget Hole

Thursday, February 23rd 2017, 7:43 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

Lawmakers are grappling with a growing budget hole, but few seem willing to take up the Governor's plan to increase taxes. That plan is so unpopular, it caused her lieutenant governor to quit her cabinet. 

The governor proposed about a billion dollars in new taxes. Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb said those taxes would be crippling to small businesses.

Now, Democrats say the split between the Governor and Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb is weakening the administration.

Democrats said when the going got tough, Lt. Gov. Lamb got going.

“What Lieutenant Governor Lamb did was cut and run and allowed for dozens of Republican members to look at Governor Fallin and say, ‘I don't have to follow you, I don't have to listen to you, I don't have to help you.’  I'm going with the guy that may be the next governor of the state of Oklahoma,” said Rep. Scott inman (D) House Minority Leader.

Republican leaders insisted that's not the case.

"I disagree. I don't think it's hamstrung the process at all. I don't think it's had any bearing into the fact and I don't think it's changed any members attitude or decision,” said Senator Mike Schulz (R) President Pro Tempore.

“No, I don’t believe so. Once again, we’re all interested in the people of the state of Oklahoma. That’s first and foremost our priority,” said House Speaker Charles McCall.

Republicans said they are looking at other options besides the governor’s tax plan, and are counting on a rebounding economy to prevent revenue failures.

Both Rep. Inman and Lt. Gov. Lamb could be running for the governor’s seat next year.