Nov. 15, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: State Rep. Steve Kouplen
Phone: (405) 557-7306
Democratic Caucus Statement on Continued Cuts to Agencies
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus has released the following statement on the passage of House Bill 1019.
“Today’s passage of the revised general appropriations bill, House Bill 1019, reflects a failure of the Republican majority to listen to their constituents, invest in the state’s future, and uphold their commitment to continue services for our most vulnerable populations. The measure cuts nearly 50 agencies an average of 2.5 percent with only seven months left in the fiscal year. All of these cuts will come from remaining funding effectively doubling the percentage cut.
Because this budget relies so heavily on one-time funding, including the raiding of several agency revolving funds and draining the state’s savings account, House Republicans have once again guaranteed a budget shortfall for the next legislative session.
Republican leadership has thrown up their hands and claimed this budget is the only option. This is patently false. They have refused to bring up several recurring revenue measures that only require 51 votes, including capping the itemized deduction and eliminating the capital gains exemption.
Additionally, Republican leadership team failed on their promise to bring 75 percent of their caucus in support of a recurring revenue package that included a modest increase in the gross production tax.
After two months of games, the Republican majority has passed the budget they had long intended; one that blindly cuts funding from agencies without consideration of the effects of those cuts. It has become painfully obvious that Republicans at the State Capitol never intended to solve the budget crisis during this special session. For seven weeks, House Republican leadership has given false hope to state employees, teachers, seniors, and many other groups desperate for stability and much-deserved pay raises. By the former Appropriation & Budget Chair’s own admission, this entire special session has been orchestrated to lead to this very outcome.
House Democrats will continue to fight for responsible, equitable, and stable revenue raising measures that will put our state on a more solid fiscal path going forward, including the revenue measures referenced above, a restoration of income tax cuts for high earners, and a restoration of the gross production tax cuts that have made Oklahoma’s rate the lowest in the nation.”