For Immediate Release: May 7, 2012
Sen. Sean Burrage
Burrage calls combination of tax cuts/bond issues
Senate Democratic Leader Sean
Burrage said his caucus would not support any bond proposals
this legislative session as long as there’s still a push
to cut state income taxes.
Legislative leaders and the governor have discussed
the need for a bond package to make much-needed repairs to the
State Capitol Building. There’s also been a push for a $40
million bond package to help complete the American Indian Cultural
Center and Museum in Oklahoma City, with some demanding an equal
amount for a pop culture museum in Tulsa. No bond proposals have
been discussed for rural Oklahoma. Burrage said the question wasn’t
about the need for any of these projects.
“The question is how can we even think about
accumulating hundreds of millions more in bond debt while talking
about cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from state revenue?
That’s like taking a pay cut at work and then immediately
running up all your credit cards,” said Burrage, D-Claremore.
“There is nothing fiscally conservative about this discussion.
It is dangerously irresponsible.”
Democratic Caucus Chairman Tom Ivester said the
economic outlook has become increasingly uncertain throughout
the legislative session because of low natural gas prices.
“We’re looking at trying to finish writing
a budget based on $3.64 natural gas prices, but lately they’ve
been hovering around $2 and it could end up much lower. If you
strictly want to confine the discussion to the immediate needs
in education, public safety, transportation and health, we don’t
have enough money as it is,” said Ivester, D-Sayre. “We
know this for a fact, but there are still folks talking about
cutting our revenue stream and going further into debt on these
bond issues. It’s like Washington D.C.”
Burrage and Ivester said they would urge fellow
members to refuse support for any bond proposal as long as the
tax cuts are on the table.
“If this legislature caves to irrational political
pressure to cut revenues this year in spite of all of the financial
obligations and uncertainties we’re facing, we will absolutely
end up with the worst schools, roads and health rates in the nation,”
Burrage said. “That isn’t the legacy we are supposed
to be creating for the people of Oklahoma.”