State Senate Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, issued the following statement regarding Gov. Brad Henry’s veto of appropriations bills for 5 state agencies.
“The budget numbers in these non-controversial bills exactly matched the funding levels contained in both the bipartisan general appropriations bill and Gov. Henry’s executive budget,” stated Coffee.
“The governor could have signed these bills as a show of good faith and bipartisan cooperation, but instead he has chosen a path that brings us one step closer to a government shutdown,” he said. “The governor’s partisan vetoes are threatening to unravel the bipartisan cooperation that currently exists in the Oklahoma Legislature.
Coffee noted that staff-level budget negotiations have been occurring for the past two weeks following Henry’s presentation of budget alternatives to legislative leaders. Representatives from the governor’s office, Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats, and House Republicans are involved in the talks, he said.
“I felt we were making progress, but the governor’s vetoes are a step backward,” Coffee said.
“Without getting into specific details, about 99% of the general appropriations that Gov. Henry vetoed would be unchanged under his alternative budget. Most of the governor’s proposed changes involve one-time expenditures or new programs – items that are dealt with outside of a general appropriations bill,” he said.