Oct. 30, 2017

Contact: State Rep. Steve Kouplen
Phone: (405) 557-7306

House Dems Release Statement on GOP “Temporary Budget Patch”

OKLAHOMA CITY – The House Democratic Caucus has released the following statement on the status of current budget negotiations and today’s passage of rainy day and special cash legislation.

“When special session started in September, the drive to fix the budget crisis should have been enough to bring all parties to the table. As November approaches, it is clear that the political will to do anything more than place a temporary patch on a gushing wound has ended.

The measure that represented the first indication of a revenue package failed last Friday before the vote was even taken. Despite having stacked the House Appropriations and Budget Committee with two additional Republican members at the onset of special session, five House Republicans declined to attend the meeting and two other Republican members, including the bill’s author and committee chair, were in attendance and failed to support the measure.

It is apparent that after months of blaming gridlock on House Democratic Caucus leadership, House Republicans are no closer to funding core services of government now than they were in regular session. Special session has shown that the blame for the gridlock preventing funding for many of the core services that Oklahomans rests squarely on the shoulders of House Republican Leadership and their inability to put Oklahomans ahead of special interest groups. With no bipartisan plan in place, the people of Oklahoma will continue to suffer.

The people of Oklahoma deserve certainty in their budget. Passing rainy day and special cash ensures no cuts to mental health, healthcare, and Department of Human Services for the next three months. When the general session convenes in February of next year, it is imperative that we have a comprehensive, stable revenue plan that invests in our future and stops further cuts. Anything less than a true budget solution is nothing short of embarrassing. Oklahomans should be prepared to hold House Republican Leadership accountable for this irresponsible approach to governing.

Our hope is that before regular session begins in February, House Republicans will put aside petty politics and help us assemble a long-term bipartisan solution. The citizens of Oklahoma have said time and again that they expect us to do better. The Legislature will struggle to provide real funding for core services if House Republican Leadership does not join the House Democrats in their willingness to do something different and in doing so, put Oklahomans first.”