With a special session starting September 25 , Oklahoma Senate Pro Tem Mike Schulz called on lawmakers to put partisan politics aside and come together on a plan to fill the $215 million budget hole created by court rulings this summer.
“The special session is rapidly approaching and all we’ve seen so far is political games from both sides of the aisle. I understand why the public would think it’s ‘déjà vu all over again’ and worry that the special session will be a repeat of the end of regular session,” said Schulz, R-Altus.
“We don’t have time in a special session for ideas that have not been thoroughly vetted in the legislative process. We don’t have time to rehash arguments from the past two years. Before the special session is gaveled in, we need to have an agreement and plan in place so that we can move quickly and effectively. It’s time to come together. It’s time to stop bickering and playing political games. It’s time to do the job Oklahomans elected us to do.”
“Senate Republicans have met three times since the initial court ruling that left a $215 million hole in the budget. We’re preparing for every scenario, but it’s clear to the Senate that the best path forward is to pass a $1.50 cigarette tax increase. The Senate passed a cigarette tax during the regular session and the Senate is ready to move on it again if the House can send one our way.”
“Let’s do this now, get it done quickly in special session to address the budget hole and return our entire focus to important issues like job creation and economic development, regulatory and tax reform, and increasing educational quality and opportunity for Oklahomans.”