Statement: Lawmakers should vote down budget that breaks their promises

The Save Our State Coalition, including Oklahoma Policy Institute, released the following statement in response to the budget plan unveiled by House and Senate leaders late last night:

The legislative session began with promises to fix Oklahoma’s structural deficit, fund a teacher pay raise, and stop the reckless use of one-time funds that make our budget problems worse in future years. The conclusion of the legislative session can only be seen as a failure to meet those promises.

The source of that failure is a decision to cater to a few powerful interests instead of investing in an economy that works for all. Lawmakers had sensible, broadly popular options to protect our communities, like restoring a moderate gross production tax and rolling back wasteful income tax cuts for the very wealthy. Instead of taking these options, they cobbled together a budget using legally questionable gimmicks and even more cuts that will be passed down to regular Oklahomans.

The results of this budget will be a continuing exodus of teachers from Oklahoma schools, larger class sizes and fewer educational opportunities, failing protections for public health and safety, and collapsing support for children, seniors, and Oklahomans with disabilities — in other words, more of the same, but worse.

Oklahomans want and deserve better. The bright spot coming out of this legislative session is that a record number of lawmakers and regular Oklahomans have grown aware of our state’s revenue problems and the decisions that are perpetuating them. Despite the attempt to rush through a budget with late-night, last-minute votes, more Oklahomans than ever are watching and getting involved.

Oklahomans deserve better, even at the cost of coming back into special session to do this right. Lawmakers should vote down this budget and come up with a responsible plan. If this budget does make it through the Legislature, Governor Fallin should uphold her promise to veto a budget that does not fund core services. Oklahomans are calling on lawmakers to come back with a plan that puts regular people over special interests.

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Gene Perry worked for OK Policy from 2011 to 2019. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism.

4 thoughts on “Statement: Lawmakers should vote down budget that breaks their promises

  1. As a registered voter, I’m disappointed that legislators are indifferent to the fact they are public servants. As a taxpayer and an educator, parent, and grandparent, I demand you work on a budget that doesn’t pander to a few but puts Oklahoma’s recovery and its citizens needs at the forefront . We can no longer afford to allow special interests to interfere with Oklahoma’s recovery and growth. You must fund core services if we want our state to recover. Please do not pass the current proposed irresponsible budget and go to special session so we can be proud of the work you do for us.

  2. Restore the GPT to 7% and roll back wasteful tax cuts for the wealthy to create a budget that will cover needed public services.

  3. Work together to overcome the 3/4 voting requirement to increase taxes. Be statesmen, not politicians. Increase state income tax by at least 2%. This seems to be a clean, fair tax–one that is out in the open rather than hidden in fees and tolls. Quite trying to “buy” the voters with unreasonable budget decisions. I am a registered Republican and I WANT taxes that pay for core services. Republicans have had more than 20 years to experiment but the experiment has failed.

  4. What has happened to common sense? In 2014 unbeknown to anyone outside the capitol walls our law makers hamstringed the voters by reducing the gross production tax on oil and gas companies to 2%. Ever since that time our state has experienced a budget shortage. Doesn’t any of them correlate this as being a major reason for the shortfall?..What is wrong with these people? Oil and Gas is a resource we have and it is basic business sense. If you have a product and you give it away or sale it too cheap you will be bankrupt eventually.The argument that the oil and gas companies will pack up and leave is just BS. They can’t have our resource unless they pay for it. They are going to get this same product cheaper any where else.Cigarett tax is stupid, this will just drive that traffic right up to the door of the Indian Smoke Shops. Then where does that revenue go? Wake up and do the job you were elected to do as a legislative body.

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