Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan today praised Senate passage of House Bill 1234, a General Appropriations bill comprising the Fiscal Year 2008 state budget. The measure passed by a unanimous 48-0 vote.
Morgan said the budget contained in HB 1234 meets the needs of Oklahoma by focusing on the priorities of education, health care and public safety – especially in light of revised revenue projections that left the Legislature with $250 million less to appropriate than originally estimated.
“This measure represents the earliest budget agreement in more than three decades. For the first time, it will allow us to meet the ‘fund education first’ deadline we established in 2003,” Morgan said. “Most importantly, the budget agreement will allow state agencies to continue to provide the services
Oklahomans count on every day. It also makes good on all of the Legislature’s existing obligations.”
In addition to $6.87 billion in agency funding for FY 2008, the measure contains $92 million in FY 2007 supplemental appropriations, including $60 million for public schools and $5.5 million for the Oklahoma’s Promise Scholarship Program.
“Senate Democrats have always been committed to investing in Oklahoma’s future by maximizing funding for education and this bill does that. It provides money to help our schools complete the current year and includes a pay raise to help move Oklahoma teachers’ salaries closer the regional average,” Morgan said.
Morgan said he will now focus his efforts on winning passage of a dedicated funding source for Oklahoma’s Promise and of the “All Kids Act” which will provide access to affordable quality health care for 42,000 uninsured Oklahoma children.