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Oklahoma State Senate
President Pro Tempore
Sen. Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City
State Capitol Room 422
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
(405) 521-5636

For Immediate Release: March 1, 2010

Democrats Lock Up on Program They Didn’t Fund During Last Budget Crisis

In a partisan move, Senate Democrats put political posturing over jobs for employees in the Departments of Corrections, Highway Patrol, and common education today, as well as other vital state services today, in direct opposition to Governor Henry, who negotiated the bipartisan budget agreement which they opposed today.

“It’s a curious decision by the Democrats today,” said Senate President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee. “They are fighting for restoration of a line item, senior nutrition, which they cut in the 2003 budget crisis.”

In a budget vote on the Senate floor today, Democrats locked up to deny funding for common education, corrections, the state Emergency Fund which pays cities and towns after ice storms, tornadoes and other natural disasters, the state School for the Deaf, state School for the Blind, Department of Public Safety, Military Department, Agriculture, Conservation and other agencies.

“I find it curious that these Democrat political leaders will jeopardize the jobs of troopers, prison guards and education in an election year, under the guise of protecting Oklahoma’s seniors, yet forgot all about those same seniors in a past budget crisis when they had unfettered control of the Oklahoma legislature,” Coffee continued. “The hypocrisy meter is spinning out of control.

“They complain about not having a seat at the negotiating table, yet the governor and his budget negotiator, the Democrat State Treasurer, negotiated this bipartisan agreement on their behalf,” Coffee added.

“And I recall the Senate Democrat Leader saying earlier this session that he would stand with his governor on matters such as this during the budget crisis.

“The Democrat Leader and his caucus have been unwilling to stand by the governor on this deal,” Coffee concluded.

Coffee pointed out that the Democrats’ demand of “only $2.5 million” in the budget for senior nutrition is a blatant act of deficit spending, modeled after their Democrat counterparts in Washington.

“Senators Laster and Corn say all they want is a mere $2.5 million for senior nutrition, yet it would require another $7.5 million next year, creating a $10 million hole in the 2011 budget,” Coffee said. “As the governor recognizes, this is irresponsible.”

It is disappointing that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are adopting the partisan approach of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in that they need to come to grips with the fact that our state is in an unprecedented budget crisis, and that more tough decisions will be made before this is over,” Coffee continued.

“I hope they join the governor’s bipartisan approach and abandon the election year grandstanding.

“I urge them to do the right thing for Oklahoma taxpayers,” Coffee concluded.

For more information contact:
Sen. Coffee: 405-521-5636


Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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