"This is a sad day for Oklahoma. Despite bipartisan opposition to the 2012 budget, the measure was narrowly approved by the Senate on a vote of 26 to 17 on Tuesday. Republicans, who for the first time control both the executive and legislative branches of government, claim they had no choice but to slash the budget by $500 million. These are budgets that had already been cut to the bone in three previous rounds of cuts.
“The truth is these cuts didn’t have to happen because there was a choice. Republicans chose to support tax credits for people who send their kids to private schools at the cost of public schools. Instead of eliminating hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks for special interest groups, they left middle class families to make up the difference with even higher college tuition.
”We’re already seeing public schools across Oklahoma overwhelmed with the strain of budget cuts the last two years. This is a budget that will do real harm to communities in every region of our state, and it will make our climb out of this bad economy harder and longer.”