For Immediate Release: February 6, 2008
Sen. Mike Johnson (center), with Sen. David Myers (right) and Rep.
Ken Miller (left) address concerns with Governor's proposed budget
at the Capitol on Tuesday.
Republican Budget Leaders Discuss Concerns with Henry’s
On Wednesday, Republican budget leaders outlined a number of
concerns with Governor Brad Henry’s FY 2008 budget. Below
is a summary of the problems described by Senate Appropriations
Co-Chairman Mike Johnson, R-Kingfisher, and House Appropriations
and Budget Chairman Ken Miller.
EXTENDING THE SCHOOL YEAR: The governor proposed extending the school
year by 5 days in his State of the State of address, but he did
not include the $90 million that Superintendent Sandy Garrett requested
to extend the school year.
PERMANENT FUNDING SOURCE FOR EDGE: In his State of the State Gov.
Henry referenced his proposal to use excess gross production revenues
– which equals about $80 million a year – to provide
a permanent funding source for EDGE. However, the governor did not
set this revenue aside in his budget – he keeps it in certified
revenues to fund government.
ENDOWED CHAIRS: The governor used his State of the State address
to call for funding the backlog of endowed chairs in higher education.
Yet the governor’s budget makes no mention of increasing bonding
authority to pay for endowed chairs, nor does he include money to
service the bonds for endowed chairs approved last session.
STATE EMPLOYEE PAY RAISE: The governor proposed a 5% pay raise for
state employees in his State of the State. But his budget only sets
aside $32 million for the pay raise – which would only fund
half a year of his proposal, leaving a massive budget hole to fill
The governor cuts the state employee health benefit allowance by
$22 million, taking a significant bite out the proposed pay raise.
BORROWING: The governor proposed $188 million in bonds to pay for
a wide number of projects. However, the governor did not include
ANY funding to pay for the debt service on these bonds.
QUESTIONABLE REVENUES AND UNSPECIFIED SAVINGS: Republicans were
glad the governor acknowledged in his budget that savings can be
found through efficiencies and streamlining. We’ve been saying
this for years. However, the governor listed tens of millions of
dollars in “savings” from efficiencies and other “revenues”
without giving any specifics:
• ENTERPRISE AGENCIES: The governor’s budget claims
that creating “Enterprise Agencies” would save $26 million.
However, he does not show where the budget reductions would occur
for his proposed Enterprise Agencies: DHS, ODOT, or Department of
• GOVERNMENT EFFICIENCY INITIATIVE: Gov. Henry’s budget
claims this would save $33 million, including $7 million in reduced
IT spending and $10.5 million from an overhaul of the Central Purchasing
Act. However, the governor provides NO DETAILS about which agency
budgets would be reduced to account for these efficiencies.
• CASH TRANSFERS: The governor proposes transferring $17
million from agencies to the Special Cash Fund, but he didn’t
specify which agencies.
• TAX COMPLIANCE: Gov. Henry’s budget claims a Tax
Compliance Initiative would generate $30 million in revenues, but
he provided no data to substantiate this claim.
TAXPAYERS LEFT OUT: We were also disappointed that the governor
left taxpayers out of his budget. House Republicans, Senate Republicans
– and even Senate Democrats – have called for some form
of tax cuts this year. Why does the governor’s budget ignore
For more information contact:
Senator Johnson's Office: (405) 521-5592