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Senate Leader Plans to Advance Keating Program

Saying he wants to give the Governor's $1.2 billion tax cut program thorough consideration, the leader of the Oklahoma Senate announced today that he would work to advance Governor Keating's initiatives to the next stage of the legislative process. The tax proposal will be considered in the Senate Finance Committee tomorrow.

"We want to review the Governor's program very carefully. If it can be determined that he can cut a quarter of the state budget without harming education, roads or prisons, then it will get favorable consideration, just as any proposal with merit would," said Senator Stratton Taylor, President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma Senate.

"As with all revenue matters, the final decisions on Governor Keating's program probably won't be made until we get into the budget process in the weeks and months to come. That's the same way we handle all revenue decisions, just like when we passed the largest tax cut in state history two years ago."

Preliminary analyses have indicated education would be hit the hardest by Keating's tax cut program eventually losing $597 million annually because it currently receives almost 60 percent of state appropriations. The prison budget would also lose a substantial amount of state funding.

"Given its importance to our economic development efforts, we don't want to do anything that would restrict the flow of resources to education. I think that's probably where the debate will focus. We don't want to send the signal to new industry that we're not interested in building a skilled work force," said Senator Taylor.

The tax cuts proposals will probably be placed in one bill that is reported out of the Senate Finance Committee.

"This is in keeping with the Senate policy to approach all issues in a bipartisan manner. We worked successfully with the Governor on a number of initiatives last year and I'm sure will see more successes in the months to come. I can't guarantee that we will pass enough of the governor's program to satisfy him, but we will give every proposal an honest, hard look," said Senator Taylor.

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Senate Communications Division (405) 521-5605