For Immediate Release: May 15, 2007
Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan discusses
budget agreement Tuesday afternoon. (Also pictured L-R:
Gov. Henry, House Minority Leader Danny Morgan, Co-President
Pro Tem Glenn Coffee and House Speaker Lance Cargill.)
Senate Co-President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee gives his thoughts
on the bipartisan budget agreement. (Also pictured L-R:
Sen. David Myers, Sen. Mike Johnson, State Treasurer Scott Meacham,
Gov. Brad Henry, House Minority Leader Danny Morgan, Sen. Coffee,
Senate President Pro Tem Mike Morgan, and House Speaker Lance
Legislative Leaders Announce State Budget Agreement
after the enactment of a bipartisan tax relief package, legislative
leaders and the governor on Tuesday announced the outlines of
a $7.1 billion state budget agreement that speeds up tax cuts
for working Oklahomans, boosts teacher pay and includes important
funds for critical state services such as public safety and
“This budget agreement is the result of hard work and
bipartisan cooperation, and I thank legislative leaders of both
parties for finding consensus on important issues. It hasn’t
always been an easy process, but lawmakers ultimately came together
to do significant things for Oklahoma, such as strengthening
higher education, establishing a state bioenergy center and
increasing teacher pay. This bipartisan budget addresses a number
of other priorities, as well as ensuring tax relief. In all,
it marks a win-win for Oklahoma,” stated Governor Brad
“We said very early on that the hallmark of this legislative
session would be fiscal restraint and restored accountability
from government. This is the first time ever in the history
of our state that a Legislature cut government spending when
there was the opportunity to spend more,” said Speaker
Lance Cargill, R-Harrah. “We delivered a responsible state
budget that makes record investments in core services while
putting in place reforms that make clear we expect in return
quality performance and results. At the same time, we have achieved
real tax relief for Oklahoma’s working families –
the very people whose productivity has helped fuel our economic
growth. Important reforms include taking a first step toward
a merit-based pay system for Oklahoma teachers and motivating
our OHLAP scholars to earn better grades while in college. And
for the first time, we will take a major step toward fixing
our state’s prison problem by conducting a top-to-bottom
review of the Department of Corrections.”
“This budget agreement focuses on protecting middle class
families and provides a fiscally-responsible framework for Oklahoma’s
future by opening the door to educational opportunities for
the next generation. It includes important funding to keep tuition
increases to a minimum at our colleges and universities and
establishes a permanent funding source to ensure the long-term
stability of the Oklahoma’s Promise Scholarship Program,”
said Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan, D-Stillwater.
“This fiscally-responsible agreement builds on the bipartisan
budget and tax relief plan passed by the Legislature earlier
this session, and represents a common sense compromise that
Oklahomans can all be proud of – especially the tax cuts
for working families and the long-term fix for the Teacher Retirement
System,” stated Senate Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn
Coffee, R-Oklahoma City. “The Senate’s power-sharing
agreement has resulted in a spirit of cooperation in the Legislature’s
upper chamber, and this bipartisanship is evident in today’s
agreement. The stage is now set for an orderly and on-time adjournment
of the 2007 legislative session.”
“Great things happen when different sides work out different
priorities,” said House Minority Leader Danny Morgan,
D- Prague. “Our constituents sent us to the Capitol to
adequately fund state agencies that meet the needs of all Oklahomans.
This inclusive bi-partisan budget is truly a victory for this
Highlights of the agreement include:
A four-point tax relief package to speed reduction
of the state’s top marginal income tax rate, provide a
childcare credit for stay-at-home parents, offer a back-to-school
sales tax holiday and eliminate the franchise tax on most small
An average $1,000 per-teacher pay increase, weighted toward
veteran teachers and those with advanced degrees. Funds in this
area also include an incentive-based program to encourage the
hiring of specially-qualified teachers.
$5 million to fund per diem increases at private prisons and
halfway houses to ease state prison overcrowding.
$1 million to the Department of Public Safety to replace obsolete
$3 million for drug courts and the “Smart on Crime Initiative.”
Drug courts have been shown as one way to reduce prison overcrowding.
A permanent funding source for the Oklahoma Higher Learning
Access Program (OHLAP) with new college GPA requirements for
OHLAP scholarship students.
A tuition-lock program that allows incoming in-state Oklahoma
college and university students to opt in to a guaranteed tuition
rate for four years.
A $33 million increase for the State Regents for Higher Education
to cover operational expenses.
An increase of the authorization for endowed chairs at Oklahoma
colleges and universities from the current $50 million to $100
A deposit of $10 million into the Oklahoma Teacher Retirement
System as an initial down payment on a long-term historic reform
to fund Oklahoma’s broken teacher retirement system that
will pump more than $200 million into the system over the next
$15 million for the Oklahoma Centennial Commission, as that
entity completes celebrations, plans and projects for the 2007
$10 million for a state Bioenergy Fund, using $4 million in
existing appropriations from Oklahoma Center for Advancement
of Science and Technology (OCAST).
$5 million in funds for Educare centers to match private funds
from the George Kaiser Family Foundation.
$16.5 million for capital projects at the University of Oklahoma,
Oklahoma State University and regional universities, including
the state’s Cancer Center.
$2.5 million for rural fire department equipment costs and $1.4
million for firefighter training.
$6.5 million for the Conservation Commission to address critical
needs for flood control structures across the state –
leveraging state funds for 2-to-1 matching federal dollars.
$10 million for State Emergency Fund and costs from devastating
ice storms earlier this year.
For more information contact:
Senator Morgan's Office: (405) 521-5605
Senator Coffee's Office: (405) 521-5654