Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Gov. Stitt says budget cuts are needed, House Speaker and Senate Pro Tem say 'No'

This may get interesting... Governor Stitt is now saying that 1% to 2% budget cuts may be necessary for the current fiscal year, but the Legislative leadership says "Over our dead bodies."

STATEMENTS: House Speaker, Senate Pro Tem respond to governor’s budget comments

OKLAHOMA CITY – House Speaker Charles McCall and Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat issued the following statements in response to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s announcement today that he believes budget cuts are necessary in the current fiscal year:

“The position the Legislature stated by veto-proof majorities Monday is not changing. The Legislature will not authorize cuts to core services during a pandemic response because the public needs its services right now. The state’s reserves, which exist for emergencies just like this, are sufficient for services to continue uninterrupted. The legislative branch controls the power of the purse, and we have made our position clear on behalf of our constituents across the state.” – House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka

“The Legislature, both Republicans and Democrats by overwhelming margins, took the necessary actions to protect state services from deep budget cuts. In the midst of a catastrophic health emergency, we must prevent budget cuts to public schools, health care, first responders and other core state services. The Legislature is a co-equal branch of government vested with the authority to write the budget. We take that role seriously. I am hopeful that the governor signs all the legislation that was sent to his desk this week.” – Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City

The Legislature on Monday stabilized the current year state budget, which is expected to experience a revenue failure of approximately $416 million due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and a steep drop in the price of oil and natural gas. The Legislature, by unanimous and nearly unanimous votes, sent the governor measures to allow the use of state savings to prevent automatic budget cuts of approximately 6 percent because of the revenue failure.

The budget stabilization bills are:

  • Senate Bill 1053, which sends $201.6 million from the Rainy Day Fund to the Revenue Stabilization Fund.
  • Senate Bill 199, which sends $302.3 million from the Rainy Day Fund to the General Revenue Fund.
  • Senate Bill 617, which authorizes the Office of Management and Enterprise Services to withdraw up to half of the balance of the Revenue Stabilization Fund to avoid cuts to agencies and the 1017 fund for education in a revenue failure in the current fiscal year.


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