By Kimberly Jackson
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — Lawmakers are still deciding how to handle Oklahoma’s massive budget shortfall. Today a proposal that would have meant additional taxes on liquor, cigarettes, and fuel, failed in the House of Representatives. That left democrats and republicans still at odds, and a lingering $215 million dollar shortfall.
“What’s frustrating is that from the moment the governor and Republican legislative leaders stood up at the podium to announce their plan, they knew Democrats were going to vote against that plan,” said David Blatt, watching the developments from his position at the Oklahoma Policy Institute.
Others are concerned, failure to find the revenue needed will mean agencies that impact the public’s health and mental health, will take cuts no one can afford.
“It’s about people’s lives, that are dangling in the grips of what is happening here. Every moment we wait, people are becoming more traumatized, more anxious and afraid about what is really their lifeline,” said Melissa Baldwin of the Mental Health Association.
She and many others are hoping lawmakers will reach a compromise, soon.