Oklahoma State Senate
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: March 11,
Sens. Coffee, Williamson and Pruitt
reporters about Republican budget proposals
Senate GOP Seeks to
Break Fiscal Deadlock
With ‘Common Sense’ Budget Proposal
State Capitol, Oklahoma
City – Senate Republicans unveiled a compromise proposal for the FY04
state budget aimed at breaking the partisan deadlock over fiscal issues
at the State Capitol.
“The Republican caucus is
presenting a common sense budget framework that reforms the budget
process and protects funding levels for the most important functions
of state government – without a tax increase on Oklahoma families,”
stated Senator James
Williamson, R-Tulsa, the Senate Republican Floor Leader.
“This is a positive proposal
that funds our priorities without making severe cuts to the rest of
state government. I hope we can now proceed together to fund education
first and in the immediate future,” said Senator Glenn
Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, an Assistant Republican Floor Leader.
“Our budget helps prioritize
spending and requires government efficiency through zero-based budgeting.
It seeks to reign in the out-of-control spending we have seen in recent
legislative sessions that has depleted the rainy day fund and led
to the current budget crisis,” stated Senator Scott
Pruitt, R-Broken Arrow, an Assistant Republican Floor Leader.
Williamson concluded, “Our
budget includes many of Governor Henry’s proposals, and we are very
close to the governor’s overall budget numbers. The Senate Republican
leadership team will present this budget proposal at today’s bipartisan
leadership meeting with the Governor. Our caucus hopes this proposed
compromise can produce an immediate budget agreement that protects
public education and spares the people of Oklahoma from the burden
of additional taxes during these tough economic times,” Williamson
The GOP budget proposes
$5.186 billion in spending for Fiscal Year 2004, and includes a
$16 million budget surplus for FY04. The budget would essentially
be frozen at net FY03 levels with a decrease of just 1/10th of one-percent
from the total net FY03 spending, while restoring this week’s new
The budget increases
common education and Medicaid healthcare funding to Governor Henry’s
proposed funding levels.
The budget holds harmless
total funding for Governor Henry’s cabinet categories of veterans,
education, health and human services, transportation, environment,
and the judiciary at the net FY03 levels.
The budget accepts Gov.
Henry’s funding levels for the general cabinet categories of human
resources and administration, secretary of state, agriculture, commerce
and tourism, energy, military affairs, and science and technology.
The budget also accepts Governor Henry’s proposed funding for safety
and security, but includes an additional 5 percent for corrections.
The budget cuts the
Governor’s office, the Legislature, and the finance and revenue
cabinet category by 10 percent from net FY03 funding. Funding for
the Lieutenant Governor’s office would be rolled back to FY00 levels.
The budget generates
$280 million in new revenues without a tax increase.
The budget accepts Governor
Henry’s proposal to utilize one time use of premiums for firefighters,
law enforcement, and police retirement programs. It also accepts
Henry’s proposals to transfer cash from various agency revolving
funds to a special cash fund, and to accept Henry’s proposal to
refinance various state bond issues.
The Senate Republicans
also pledged to provide enough votes from their caucus to help Democrats
pass up to $65 million of Governor Henry’s proposed user fee increases.
The budget proposes
the privatization of CompSource Oklahoma, a state-owned workers’
compensation insurance company. It also includes a federal election
reform bonus obtained by U.S. Rep. Ernest Istook for Oklahoma.
The budget adopts zero-based
budgeting, which Republicans conservatively estimate will lead to
an additional 1 percent in savings through increased efficiency.
REFORMS / REQUESTS:
budgeting, to be used in calculating FY04 state budget.
Fund FY04 common education
Allow a vote of the
people on a constitutional amendment requiring the Legislature to
fund common education by March 1 each year.
Fund Corrections, Public
Safety, and Health Care Authority no later than April 1.
Ensure ad valorem fund
reimbursements to public schools are fully funded.
incentives to encourage voluntary consolidation of public school
administration and services.
of using local funds to obtain additional Medicaid federal matching
Require revenue shortfall
provisions in state contracts, and allow salary reductions in the
event of shortfalls.
For more information,
Senator James Williamson - (405) 521-5624