OKLAHOMA LAWMAKERS COME TO FINAL BUDGET AGREEMENT FOR 2025

Ch. 6 - May 24, 2024 5:54 am

Oklahoma Capitol(Photo by Visions of America-Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

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After weeks of back and forth, state lawmakers have agreed on the 2025 state budget.

A few steps are left before the numbers are finalized, but lawmakers expect to have things wrapped up by ‘Sine Die’ on May 31.

“It’s a big big day for our session. This culminates work that happened in the interim all through the pre-session hearings into our new process of transparency,” said Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat. “Very happy that we came together over the last couple of days and very happy the governor came and delivered that message very clearly and succinctly, though it was a very fair deal for us.”

Lawmakers came into their 8th budget summit meeting Wednesday morning, hopeful to finalize an agreement, but still skeptical. But there was a change of tune when the governor promised not to veto the budget if the chambers reached an agreement today, with a few key highlights.

“We agreed that we would not veto the budget if our priorities got in there so we’re satisfied that they got in there and I think that’s what we did today and we just shook it out,” said Governor Kevin Stitt.

This is the last budget agreement between the three leaders, with both House Speaker Charles McCall and Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat terming out in November. The final agreement includes raises or a flat budget for most state agencies, a pay raise for law enforcement across the state, and the grocery tax cut passed earlier this session.

The total is expected to be about $13 billion but the staff in both chambers are now tasked with filing the official budget bills, which could be filed as early as Friday or Saturday. After that, both chambers will take a vote and move quickly to get the budget to the governor’s desk by the last day of the session, which is next Friday.

“We have $1 billion in cash above and beyond the traditional savings account and we delivered the largest tax cut in state history this session so a lot to be proud of in this budget,” said Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat.

As the finalized and updated numbers are released, we will continue to update. The 2025 fiscal year begins July 1.

More Details: House Budget Transparency Website

Additional statements:

Senate Majority Leader Greg McCortney (R-Ada):

“I’m appreciative of everyone who has provided input on this year’s budget as our cooperative efforts ensured the needs of Oklahomans have remained at the forefront of our conversations and negotiations. Further, I applaud Pro Tem Treat for launching transparency initiatives that have led to this all-encompassing and fiscally responsible budget agreement. This approach has ensured all voices were represented throughout the process and has set a standard for effective governance and accountability moving forward. I look forward to expanding on these efforts to make Oklahoma’s budget process the most transparent in the nation.”

Speaker Pro Tempore Kyle Hilbert (R-Bristow):

“It’s often said that successful negotiation is not about getting to yes, it’s about mastering no and understanding what the path to an agreement is. During this negotiation process, neither chamber got every item they would have liked, but what we did get was a good budget for the people of Oklahoma.

It’s important to remember that the budget agreements and decisions made today can have a lasting impact in the future. I’m thankful that the House and Senate could reach an agreement, and I’m optimistic about our ability to continue addressing areas of concern and disagreement in the future.”

House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols (R-Oklahoma City):

“During my 12 years in the Legislature, we have encountered some of the most difficult budget issues that Oklahoma has ever seen, and we found a way to work together to lift our state up and get back on track.

Thankfully, due to shrewd budgeting practices and forward-thinking, those issues have been left in the past and now the conversations regarding the budget surround how much to spend and how much to save. That’s a great problem to have. I’m thankful for the robust budget conversations that took place this year, and confident that we have delivered a budget that will address issues that matter to the citizens of our state.”

Senate Appropriations Chairman Chuck Hall (R-Perry):

“This state budget meets the needs of all Oklahomans in a comprehensive and fiscally responsible manner. I’m proud this spending plan was born out of the most transparent budget process in state history, which included countless public meetings that allowed the public to remain involved and engaged as we discussed every line item. I want to thank Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat once again for putting his faith in me to get this budget to the finish line.”

House Appropriations & Budget Chairman Kevin Wallace (R-Wellston):

“The budget agreement reached today will provide much-needed funding for a wide array of projects and programs across our state. Negotiations are rarely quick and easy, but the process produced a budget that focuses on the main priority of the House: our constituents.

I’m thankful for the countless hours that House staff put into this process, and the work of our appropriation’s subchairs, and subcommittees, to ensure that we were up to date with all information necessary to negotiate in good faith.”

Oklahoma Lawmakers Come To Final Budget Agreement For 2025

Senate Appropriations Vice Chairman Paul Rosino (R-Oklahoma City):

“This agreement reflects our commitment to transparency and fiscal responsibility while prioritizing the needs of our constituents. Though the process proved difficult at times, I am appreciative of my legislative colleagues for their continued collaboration. We have crafted a comprehensive budget that supports key initiatives across Oklahoma, and I am confident that this will serve the best interests of our state for the fiscal year ahead.”

House Appropriations & Budget Vice Chairman Trey Caldwell (R-Lawton):

“Over many weeks and months, dating back to last Fall, the House has been dedicated to a transparent budget process that addresses the needs of our citizens and is fiscally responsible for the future of our state.

Today’s budget agreement delivers a budget that will do exactly that. I’m thankful for the leadership of Chairman Wallace during this process, and the hard work of House budget staff to come in early, and stay late, to make sure we were always prepared for meetings and able to negotiate a good budget for all Oklahomans.”

“While we appreciate this agreement should negate the need for yet another costly special session, we are concerned the budget doesn’t address critical needs facing citizens in every district of the state. This is not a bipartisan budget, because it misses important opportunities to invest more in our schools, health and mental health, and other programs that would have improved the lives of working Oklahomans and their families.”  Senate Democratic Leader Kay Floyd (D-Oklahoma City).

“We will never stop demanding better for the people of Oklahoma. We’re ready to support a budget if it solves the problems Oklahomans are facing every day and puts people over politics. Oklahomans want education funded for success for our kids, timely access to mental health care, and ethics systems that hold our elected officials accountable if they break the rules. What we’ve seen from the budget so far, these challenges are not yet being addressed.”  Sen. Julia Kirt (D-Oklahoma City).

“By keeping the Democratic Leaders out of the public budget discussion process, issues important to Oklahomans have not been prioritized, such as affordable and accessible child care, addressing hunger by providing free school lunches to students across our state, and investing in health care to ensure people can access physicians and the care they need. Instead, we have observed Republican infighting, which unnecessarily prolonged the budget process. Now the process is being rushed, which does not give legislators, stakeholders, or the public enough time to fully understand the budget and know how our tax dollars will be spent. In the future, we need to work together on bipartisan solutions that address real challenges in our state and benefit all Oklahoma families.” House Democratic Leader Cyndi Munson (D-Oklahoma City).

 

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