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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: February 10, 2010

Sen. Kenneth Corn
Sen. Kenneth Corn

Sen. Corn Awaits Committee Vote on Measure to Allow Legislative
Salary Cuts During Budget Shortfall

A measure to let voters enact a constitutional amendment enabling cuts in legislative pay is awaiting action by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Sen. Kenneth Corn is the author of the legislation. The proposed amendment is contained in a committee substitute for SJR 2. Corn said while the pay cut would certainly not offset the budget shortfall, it would ensure legislators are shouldering part of the burden.

“The current budget shortfall means agency budgets are being cut. The public is already feeling the impact of reduced services, and state employees are facing furloughs,” said Corn, D-Poteau. “I don’t think it’s fair that thousands of Oklahomans are struggling with this recession but legislative salaries cannot be touched. This legislation would create a mechanism to cut lawmakers’ pay during a budget crisis.”

Unlike the U.S. Congress, the Oklahoma Legislature cannot vote on its own salaries or benefits. Under the state constitution, compensation must be decided by an independent panel, the Board on Legislative Compensation, which is only authorized to meet every two years.

“If SJR 2 is approved by the Legislature, voters would be able to decide whether to amend our Constitution to allow emergency meetings of the board once a revenue failure has been declared,” Corn said. “The board could then reduce our salaries for the remainder of the fiscal year by the same percentage as the projected revenue failure.”

If approved by two-thirds of the Legislature, the proposed amendment could be on the 2010 primary election ballot on July 27. However, Corn said the first step was a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee. The deadline for committee action on Senate measures is February 18.

“I believe this is simply the right thing to do for our state. I hope SJR 2 will be heard, and we can continue to move this proposal toward a vote of the people,” Corn said.

For more information contact:
Sen. Corn: 405-521-5576

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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