Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: April 4, 2013

Senate Democratic Leader Sean Burrage and Caucus Chairman
Tom Ivester Comment on Senate Committee Passage of HB 2032

Senate Democratic Leader Sean Burrage and Caucus Chairman Tom Ivester issued the following comments Thursday in response to the passage of HB 2032 by the Senate Finance Committee earlier in the day.

“Once again, the Oklahoma State Senate is engaged in a process that forces the kind of rushed decision-making that can result in bad policymaking,” said Burrage, D-Claremore. “Our members were informed of this morning’s Finance Committee meeting well after the close of the normal Senate business day. They were handed a much expanded version of the bill with less than 45 minutes to review it before voting on it in committee. No one can be expected to engage in knowledgeable debate or cast a fully informed vote in this kind of environment. And while we are continually bombarded with the message that it’s a ‘work in progress’ and ‘title is off the bill,’ this is not a practice that promotes good policymaking.”

“As to the content of the bill, this is the third tax bill we’ve seen this session,” Burrage continued. “Senate Republican leadership says that the average Oklahoman could save $80 a year with this tax cut. That’s just $1.50 per week. But, when you add it all up, it means millions of dollars that could be used to restore funding cuts to our local schools, give our teachers or our Highway Patrol a raise, fix our roads and bridges, and restore our State Capitol which is literally crumbling around us as we debate these bills.”

“While I understand that tax cuts are an important political talking point for the members of this body, we are seeing political infighting among Republicans in the Senate, Republicans in the House and the Governor’s office affect our ability to make good public policy,” said Ivester, D-Sayre. “We’re being forced to debate political talking points – whether a tax cut should be implemented before or after an important election year in 2014, whether the rate should be at or just below five percent – instead of discussing whether a small tax cut is more important than investing in our schools, paying our teachers and public safety officers appropriately and making sure our State Capitol doesn’t fall down around us any more than it already has. Drama about what is politically expedient is overtaking our ability to do what is best for Oklahoma.”


For more information, contact:
Sen. Burrage: (405) 521-5601
Sen. Ivester: (405) 521-5545