This week, Governor Mary Fallin released her latest budget proposal that holds the line on spending for corrections and education, but requires the financially strapped state to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars. It shifts money, relies on cuts to certain tax credits and exemptions, and requires more than 600-million dollars in borrowing.
The plan isn’t getting much praise in the house or senate.
“She apparently thinks you can borrow your way out of debt,” said Representative Scott Inman (D) House Minority Leader, “And then a raise in taxes by eliminating the earned income tax credit, the child care tax credit. So she wants us to take us into further debt and raise taxes on working class and middle class families who are just trying to get by.”
Senator Brian Bingman (R) President Pro Tempore agrees borrowing more money isn’t the solution.
“Let’s be careful and don’t overextend ourselves and create a big hole that could come back next year and the revenues aren’t there, then you’ve got to start off from day one in the hole,” said Bingman.
The governor says, under her plan, education funding can stay at current levels.
“We want to fund education at the appropriate levels. It is unacceptable to have four day a week school days,” said Gov. Fallin.
4/13/16 Related Story: New OK Budget Proposal Seeks To Restore Funding to Education, DHS, DOC
“I’m not sure how she gets there” Inman said, “Sort of voodoo economics the way she puts it all together. I think at the end of the day it’s a pipe dream for her to do it.”
Bingman acknowledges, “Those are some of the ideas that the governor threw out that might not be too achievable.”
As for teacher raises this year, don’t count on it.
“For me to sit here and say, you know, guarantee a raise for the teachers I think realistically that’s difficult unless you can come up with a new reserve source.” Bingman said.
Lawmakers say some parts of the plan are worth talking about, but not at the risk of putting the state deeper in debt.
“If there’s ever a year we need to buckle down I think this is the year,” said Bingman.
The governor does say her budget proposal is a work in progress and subject to change. But lawmakers News 9 spoke with say it will have to change significantly to pass in the legislature.