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Oklahoma Budget Proposal Fails - KOAM TV 7

Oklahoma Budget Proposal Fails

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    An effort to fill a $215-million budget gap in The Oklahoma budget has been shot down in the Oklahoma House
    The bill would have raised taxes on cigarettes by a $1.50 a pack, raised the tax on motor fuel by six cents a gallon, and raised the tax on alcohol.  
    Republicans had hoped to use that money to patch the budget hole.
    The plan also had a $3,000 pay raise for teachers and $1,000 pay hike for some state workers.
    But the bill faced bipartisan opposition, especially from Democrats.   
      "You're asking us to vote for a tax increase to fund a plan that will still leave us $17 million in the hole and  $400 million in the hole next year to cut more services for education health care and public safety?" Democratic Representative Scott Inman asked on the House floor.  "Can you explain to me why it makes any financial sense?"
    Democrats insisted on an increase in the production tax on oil and natural gas, but Republicans argued that wouldn't be necessary.
    "The economy's improving," said Republican Representative Kevin Wallace.  "Projections should have more to appropriate in this coming year's budget."
      House members voted 54-44 on Tuesday for the proposal, well short of the 76 votes needed for passage. The rejection forces leaders back to the negotiating table.

      Earlier Tuesday, thousands of people had packed the Oklahoma Capitol to urge legislators to block pending cuts to health and social services programs.
    Demonstrators donned green hats and chanted "save our services" as they thronged the fourth-floor rotunda asking lawmakers to restore funding for the mentally ill, the disabled, and poor children and seniors. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol estimated a crowd of about 2,000.
    


 

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