Oklahoma Policy Institute released the following statement in response to a state budget deal announced today:
Lawmakers faced a difficult task with a $611 million budget hole. Even so, this budget proposal ignores sensible revenue options by allowing a tax cut to go forward that was never meant to happen in these conditions and failing to do anything about wasteful tax breaks, such as the double deduction for state income tax.
The result is a budget that does not keep up with rising costs for common education and health care and continues to ratchet down support for the arts, economic development, state parks, and other areas that are already at least 20 percent below pre-recession funding levels. Oklahomans can expect continued teacher shortages and larger class sizes, higher fees and tuition, and less access to medical care, among the many bad consequences of this budget.
The budget deal barely maintains some vital services only by using up hundreds of millions in one-time revenues that will immediately dig another large budget hole for next year. Oklahoma will not be able to kick this can down the road much longer. Legislators should reject this budget and demand a balanced plan that includes sustainable revenue options.