Oklahoma Senate approves $510M budget plan

Thursday, 18 May, 2017

But the proposal includes Baker's controversial plan to charge employers a fee for not providing health insurance to a majority of their employees, which could bring $180 million into state coffers next year.

"Our goal was to come up with a plan that does not increase any taxes and mitigates the revenue losses to towns and cities and we did just that", House Republican Leader Themis Klarides of Derby said.

"Some have argued this program goes well beyond any kind of tax credit program and instead is something that is closer to a cash payment to these individuals", said Rep. Chris Davis of Ellington, ranking House Republican on the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee.

Despite broad disagreement over HB 2372, the House vote occurred without debate for or against it. It needed 76 yes votes to pass the chamber without ballot approval from the public.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (mih-NOO'-shin) and other administration officials met with Republican and Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday. Word spread that a separate version of the cigarette tax - possibly at a lower rate of $0.67 per pack - might be heard as a result, though details and timeframe remain unclear.

But before they could make it, House Democratic Leader (and candidate for governor) Scott Inman crashed their press conference and said there would be no Democratic votes on the bill. It also would raise the state gross production tax on new oil and natural gas wells from 2 percent to 7 percent after 18 months. He had declined to take questions Friday during his weekly media availability as well.

In a statement the Speaker of the House, Charles McCall, said the Senate's budget proposal "is not a real solution to the budget problem". It was shot down by the House of Representatives after a number of both Republican and Democrat representatives voiced opposition to this bill.

"There were many more Republican votes this year, and there were more Democrat votes on the bill than last year", McCall said.

Darren Aronofsky pulls at Jennifer Lawrence's heartstrings in creepy poster
Also, why is she so shiny? So does her new boyfriend Darren Aronofsky (who directed Pi and Black Swan ). Skyfall actor Javier Bardem's name is also on the poster; he apparently plays Lawrence's other half.

About 4:30 p.m. Monday, the Senate passed its plan in the form of an amended HB 2360. The amended bill (embedded below) includes all the items Schulz identified.

The measure would rescind tax breaks for the wind and oil industries, contributing to the projected income.

Enough with the theater.

Fasano said the magnet schools cut was hard but, "When we get down to these big numbers, you've got to look at things that normally you would not look at".

On May 5, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin vetoed legislation that would have expanded consumer payday lending in the state. She walked to the Democrats' side of the House floor, shaking hands with lawmakers there, too.

State analysts downgraded anticipated revenues for the next two fiscal years by $1.46 billion - almost $600 million next fiscal year and $865 million in 2018-19 - largely because of eroding income tax receipts.

"This is probably the most challenging budget to put together because revenue projections collapsed in recent weeks", House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, said. Tough negotiations involved plugging an nearly $900 million shortfall of the budget. In the end, more Republicans than Democrats actually opposed the measure that would have raised $215 million.