Senator John Sparks
Senate District 16
For Immediate Release: July 28, 2016
Sen. John Sparks
Democratic Leader John Sparks Issues Comments
On Governor’s Call for a Special Session to Spend “Extra
OKLAHOMA CITY – Senate
John Sparks (D-Norman) issued the following comments in response
to the report that Governor Fallin is considering calling the Legislature
into special session to use “extra money” to fund a
pay raise for public school teachers:
“Once again, Governor Fallin and the Republican majority
in the legislature are showing how bad they are at public finance
and how good they are at election year political pandering –
because that is all this proposal for a special session on teacher
pay raises is.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: a
special session to figure out what to do with the $140.8 million
in ‘extra money’ the Governor’s finance team found
back in June is unlawful and unnecessary. We don’t need to
spend taxpayer dollars we don’t have to pass a new law to
determine how and where this money should be spent. We passed a
budget in May of 2015 which directed how this money was to be spent.
The Governor’s finance team needs to simply re-allocate this
money back to the agencies to which it was originally appropriated.
“In addition, I find the timing of this call for special
session curious. To suddenly want to come to the table to pass a
teacher pay raise plan in the midst of a heated campaign season
where educators and parents are not only concerned but motivated
and active wreaks of political pandering.
“Finally, the idea that using one-time ‘extra money’
to fund an ongoing expense like teacher salaries is fiscally unsound.
To use one time money for a recurring budget item is short sighted
at best and sets our teachers up for serious disappointment in the
future when there isn’t more one-time money to keep funding
their new, higher salaries.
“We need to address the issue of teacher pay and our ongoing
teacher shortage. But, this isn’t the way to do it. If the
Republicans in the legislature really cared about teachers, they
would have passed a pay raise bill during the regular session. But
for the legislature to spend $30,000 a day for a special session
to address this issue now using one-time funds is unlawful, unnecessary,
inappropriate, and pandering fiscal mismanagement.”
For more information, contact:
Sen. Sparks: (405) 521-5553