Governor Fallin on budget bill: 'This is not what I want'
Oklahoma's governor said she was disappointed lawmakers were unable to come to a compromise on a plan to bring revenue raising measures to the state.
"Let me be clear, these same agencies that provide for the health and safety of our communities, the elderly, poor, mentally ill, and children will continue to be at great risk. The Legislature is leaving close to a $550 million budget gap for next session, which starts in three months, mainly by using one-time gimmicks," Gov. Fallin said.
Lawmakers have been unable to garner enough votes to pass bills that would have brought a cigarette tax, alcohol tax, fuel tax and a rise in the gross production tax on wells. State agencies have warned that devastating cuts were coming if funds are not found.
"As I told the speaker and pro tem as well as other leaders, my preference would be a revote on “Plan A+” that received 71 votes, just five votes short of passing. The leadership feels members won’t change their votes. Secondly, I asked last week and this past Monday for at least a stand-alone vote on the cigarette tax, which is the reason why we are having special session. The leadership and I have been told that the Democrats will not vote for the cigarette tax as a stand-alone vote. So it’s dead, too, yet the Senate still has a vote on the latest budget plan," Gov. Fallin said.
Fallin has previously stated that she will veto any bill that makes cuts of $90 million or more to state agencies. She says she will have to review the current bill if it makes it through the Senate.
"This is not what I want, and I can tell you the majority of the Legislature doesn’t want it either. The House did get to 71 yes votes on a revenue-raising plan, which, when you include the Senate’s 37 yes votes on a similar measure, was more than a majority of the Legislature. However, getting past the hurdle of State Question 640, which was passed by voters in the early 1990s and requires three-fourths passage on revenue-raising measures, has been difficult." Gov. Fallin said.
The Senate could take up HB 1019X as early as Thursday morning.