More Cuts ‘Inevitable,’ Better to Act Sooner Rather than Later
The Oklahoma Senate Republican Caucus today called on Governor Brad Henry to call the Legislature into special session in December, rather than waiting until January, as he suggested earlier this week.
“It’s very clear that more reductions in spending are inevitable,” said Senate President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee, “and agency heads are awaiting our direction as to how much their budgets will be reduced.
“We believe it is prudent, given the fiscal crisis facing all state agencies, to come in, examine the numbers as an entire body, and make the hard decisions sooner rather than later,” he continued. “We have a good feel for the direction revenues are heading, so why wait any longer?”
Coffee pointed out that Senate Appropriations Subcommittees have been meeting over the past weeks, and getting reports from agency heads projecting how cuts of 5%m 7.5% and 10% would impact their agencies.
“Agency heads are willing to make the tough calls,” Coffee said. “They just need to know when and how much. It’s not a pleasant task, but we all understand the reality of the times in which we’re operating.”
Coffee said that families across the state are prioritizing their needs and making hard personal budget decisions around their kitchen tables, and government needs to act accordingly. “This won’t be easy or fun, but this is an opportunity for Oklahoma’s elected leaders to assess our needs alongside our available resources, and look at state spending through critical eyes.”
Under the Oklahoma Constitution, the Governor can call a special meeting of the State Equalization Board, who would declare a budget failure, at which time the Governor could call a Special Session of the Legislature.
“We hope the Governor will act with great urgency on this matter,” Coffee said. “Our caucus will stand with him in support of his call, and will take on this important matter with equal urgency.”