Friday, April 10, 2020

House Speaker and Senate Pro Tem to Gov. Stitt: we won't budge on FY2020 budget fix

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

OKLAHOMA CITY – House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, and Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, [yesterday] issued the following statements in response to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s actions and comments today concerning stabilizing the FY 2020 state budget:

“The House and Senate remain united by our actions to swiftly stabilize the budget, and call on the governor to finish the job. Further legislative action is not needed when a stabilized budget is already on the governor’s desk. There is no benefit to having the budget certainty the Legislature swiftly provided jeopardized because of opposition to a noncritical issue representing 0.003% of the budget. This is especially true when the Legislature just gave the governor authority to allocate $50 million at his discretion during his catastrophic health emergency declaration.” – House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka

“If there ever was a ‘rainy day’ in Oklahoma it would surely be during the middle of a catastrophic health emergency that has wrecked our economy. We have the savings to weather this storm in the short-term. That’s why the Legislature by overwhelming margins in both the House and Senate took steps to prevent cuts to core state services by accessing state savings.

The Legislature appreciates the job the governor is doing to manage the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, which is why we gave him unprecedented authority to direct the state’s overall effort. Among that authority is the ability to transfer up to $50 million in state funds to help with the ongoing pandemic response, and surely a portion of that money could be used to address digital services responding to the health crisis.

The governor was given more authority over state agencies last year, in large part to allow the state’s chief executive to identify and eliminate waste. When it comes to next year’s budget, which begins July 1, the Legislature is willing and ready to work with the governor on any ideas he has to save taxpayer dollars.” – Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City


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