A new analysis by the Senate fiscal staff indicates that education would be the biggest loser if Governor Keating carries through with a plan to use additional motor vehicle revenues on transportation.
"Governor Keating has indicated if he doesn't get his new toll roads, he's going to go after money that has historically been earmarked for education," said Senator Kelly Haney, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.read more.
Saying he believes a controversial turnpike program offered by Governor Frank Keating will ultimately be revived, a state legislator is pushing forward with an interim legislative study of Oklahoma's existing toll road system and Keating's plans to expand it.
"I don't believe for a minute that we've seen the last of Governor Keating's toll roads," said Senator Bruce Price.
"Before we consider expansion of our current system, we need to focus on the OTA's existing debt. We need to pay it off so we can explore the possibility of someday making our toll roads free roads."read more.
When Governor Keating vetoed a series of education reform measures at the end of the legislative session, he also killed a number of proposals made by the Governor's Commission on Government Performance he created, according to a Senate Budget leader.read more.
The Oklahoma Legislature cut state taxes by $50 million in the recently concluded 1996 legislative session, according to a new study by the Senate Committee staff. The analysis was requested by Senator Dick Wilkerson, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
"I wanted to see what the final numbers were after the dust settled from the legislative session," said Senator Wilkerson.
"In the final analysis, I think legislators did a pretty good job of responding to the people's concerns about taxes, from property taxes to income taxes."read more.
A group of rural state legislators is urging Governor Keating and the Oklahoma Congressional Delegation to take swift action to investigate Oklahoma's omission from a critical federal crop insurance program.
"Our farmers have been left out in the cold on this deal," said Senator Paul Muegge, chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee. "Unless the Governor and the congressional delegation move quickly, Oklahoma farmers are going to be in a world of hurt, and we can't afford that, especially after this year's drought."read more.
By suggesting that motor vehicle revenue currently earmarked for education will be diverted to transportation needs if his new urban turnpikes are not built, Governor Keating is once again threatening the budgets of public schools, according to a Senate budget leader.read more.
Governor Keating convened day three of his revisionist history lesson on his education record today, enlisting the aid of two Republican legislators to help him in his continuing effort to cover his anti-education tracks.
"Me thinketh he protest a bit too much," said Senator Cal Hobson, paraphrasing a famous line from Shakespeare that best describes Governor Keating's recent protestations and gesticulations about his education record.read more.
Apparently embarrassed by his performance on education, Governor Keating is conducting a bit of "revisionist history" on his record of support for the public schools, according to a Senate leader.read more.
Saying he's seeking more information about a controversial turnpike program offered by Governor Frank Keating, a state legislator is formally requesting an interim legislative study of Oklahoma's toll road system and Keating's plans to expand it.
"I haven't gotten any answers from Governor Keating yet so I'm going to try to find the answers on my own," said Senator Bruce Price, the most vocal critic of Governor Keating's turnpike program. The Governor wants to build two new toll roads in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, financing the construction with a 10 percent toll hike statewide.read more.
Governor Keating is attempting to cut the budget for public education once again, this time by suggesting that motor vehicle revenue currently earmarked for schools be diverted to the transportation budget, according to a Senate budget leader.
"This is another attack on the education budget by Governor Keating," said Senator Cal Hobson, vice-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "He's tried to disguise it a little this time, but the reality is he's trying to take money out of Oklahoma classrooms again."read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY - A controversial turnpike program offered by former Governor David Walters would have built more road at a cheaper price than a turnpike package currently being advocated by Governor Frank Keating, according to a state legislator.
"The Walters program was the deal of the century compared to the Keating plan," said Senator Bruce Price. "It's costing Governor Keating twice as much to build his new turnpikes. The Keating toll road construction program just seems to be incredibly overpriced. "read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY - A budget report issued by the Ethics Commission today proves just how damaging Governor Keating's veto of ethics funding was, according to a Senate leader.
"Governor Keating has given plenty of lip service to ethical government, but he certainly doesn't practice what he preaches when it comes to funding our watchdog agencies," noted Senator Keith Leftwich, Majority Whip of the Oklahoma Senate. "You can't say you're for ethical government and then restrict the Ethics Commission's ability to operate, yet that's exactly what Governor Keating did."read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY -Saying the Keating administration isn't telling the whole story about a pending toll road expansion and rate hike program, a state legislator is challenging a lengthy statement issued by the Governor's office yesterday and requesting a firm commitment for public hearings on the issue. Senator Price also made a formal request for information documenting funding needs, projected toll increases and current turnpike traffic counts today.read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY - A state legislator is questioning a toll road expansion and rate hike program quietly engineered by Governor Frank Keating in recent weeks, saying the Governor owes the public a more detailed explanation about the controversial turnpike package. Senator Bruce Price is suggesting a series of public forums to gather citizen input.
"I think Oklahomans should have the opportunity to speak their minds before Governor Keating arbitrarily raises tolls on every turnpike and plunges the state a half a billion dollars into debt," said Senator Price.read more.