For Immediate Release: November 10, 2009
Glenn Coffee Sen. Mike Johnson
SENATORS COFFEE, JOHNSON RESPOND
TO LATEST STATE REVENUE REPORT
Time for Tough Decisions to be Made
“The State revenue
report is significantly below projections. There is no rational
basis to see things changing in the foreseeable future. I remain
committed to staying at the table with the Governor and working with
him to see us through this crisis, but we are running out of
options,” said Senate President Pro Tem Glenn
Coffee. “Clearly, hard
decisions will be made, and serious steps will have to be taken in
order to see this state and our people through this challenge.
“At this point, it is fantasy to think we can proceed forward
without a serious look at each agency, and making real cuts in
spending,” he continued. “It would be irresponsible not to look at
making additional reductions in expenditures at this point.”
Coffee had previously asked Senator
Johnson, Senate Appropriations
Committee Chair, to have his subcommittee chairs call in their
respective agency heads and identify areas that can be reduced.
Coffee reiterated that call today.
“I’m an optimist by nature, but I am afraid the Governor is hoping
for more than the data suggests,” Coffee added.
“We’re still looking at an estimated general revenue fund shortfall
that may approach a $1 billion for the year, so we’re kidding
ourselves, and doing a disservice to the next governor and
legislature as the state's current and future representatives -– not
to mention the taxpayers of Oklahoma -– if we just drop a fiscal
bomb on them,” Coffee said. “The Governor, the Speaker, Senator
Johnson and I won’t be here in 2011, but the legacy we leave the
state will certainly follow us, and I refuse to leave a totally
depleted state budget by avoiding the difficult decisions today.”
“I’m afraid the Governor is still trying to paint a rosy picture and
hope things will get better,” said Senator Johnson. “It appears to
me the Governor doesn’t care about future budgets following his two
terms in office,” Johnson continued. “Relying on Rainy Day and
stimulus funds would be the easy way out. But we can’t and we won’t
avoid making the tough decisions now, or we’ll dig an even deeper
hole in the budget for our successors.
“Blowing through $600 million in Rainy Day Funds would solve today’s
problem, but would leave the next governor that much deeper in the
hole from the start,” he added.
“We’re ready to sit down and work with him to make those tough
calls,” Johnson concluded.
For more information contact:
Sen. Coffee: 405-521-5636