Senate approves Oklahoma budget proposal
OKLAHOMA CITY —
(AP) -- The Oklahoma Senate has approved a $6.8 billion budget proposal to fund state government over the objections of members who say it relies too much on one-time sources of revenue that won't be available next year.
The Senate voted 30-16 for the bill and sent it to the House, where there is bipartisan opposition and may not be enough votes to pass it.
Hour after hour went by as the Oklahoma Senate debated SB 1616 Wednesday. After three hours, the budget bill passed with a 30-16 vote. Senator David Holt voted for the bill but admits it has some issues.
"I'm dissappointed in how we didn't get teacher pay addressed in some fashion but we protected education, healthcare and corrections," Holt said.
State Senator Kay Floyd was not on board with the decision.
"We should take more money out of the Rainy Day Fund and take less bonding. Because that's a debt that we are going to have to pay," Floyd said.
Floyd says she voted against the bill for a number of reasons. She believes the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services took a significant cut which she says could hurt 4,000 Oklahomans in drug court right now.
Floyd says it cost $19,000 to house and inmate and in the long run if all 4,000 of these Oklahomans are sent to prison it will stick the state with a $76 million bill.
"We don't know how many situation like that we are going to see as these agencies start to crumble," Floyd said.
Several Republican senators expressed disappointment there weren't further cuts to state tax credits for the wind industry that are expected to cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in future years.
Others complained about an increase in funding for the Legislature when social services agencies are being slashed.
Both the House and Senate must approve the budget by Friday or call a special session.
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