Oklahoma State Legislature Passes 2017 Budget Plan

Friday, May 27th 2016, 6:35 pm

The state legislature has adjourned after passing a $6.9 billion dollar budget plan. 

Lawmakers were able to close a 1.3 billion dollar budget gap without additional cuts to core services like K-through 12 schools and health care.

Lawmakers gaveled out, but not without taking some parting shots at each other.

“I’m not going to stand here, watch my caucus be run down and our intentions be impugned,” said Representative Scott Inman (D) House Minority Leader raising his voice in defense of his party.

Democrats defended their choice to hold off on a tobacco tax because republicans refused to accept Obamacare dollars. Republicans said democrats brought nothing to the table.

“Your caucus didn’t support any of these proposals that we put out here to help the budget,” said Representative Earl Sears (R) Appropriations & Budget Chair. “And I get that. I understand that. You got a role. We got a role.”

Representative Doug Cox (R) District 5 added, “They never walked their happy hind end in here to vote yes to increase revenue. But they’ll walk their happy hind end in here and vote no on this budget.”

Opponents say the budget is balanced on the backs of the poor, with the deepest cuts affecting the neediest Oklahomans. 

“This budget is a disgusting disgrace to the people of Oklahoma and they deserve better,” said Eric Proctor (D) District 77. 

Representative James Lockhart (D) District 3 added, “This budget is a joke.  It’s like the deeper we dig ourselves into debt the dumber we get.”

In the end, the budget passed by a narrow 52-to-45 margin.

“Some of us like it.  But most of us don’t like a lot of it,” lamented Representative Pat Ownbey (R) District 48. “It’s just tough.”

The budget now heads to the governor’s office. She’ll have 15 days to either approve the budget or veto it.