Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Tom Ivester says his fellow caucus members stand with Gov. Mary Fallin in her efforts to hold state budget cuts between three and five percent. While Republican leaders have said agencies will likely have to face cuts of 7 to 10 percent when the 2012 fiscal year begins in July, Ivester said cuts of that size would be devastating to state services.
“When you consider that many state agencies have already endured cuts of 15 to 20 percent in the last two years, it should be obvious that we’re way beyond cutting fat—we’re now cutting into the bone and muscle of core services at this point,” said Ivester, D-Sayre. “Governor Fallin’s proposed budget made it possible to make smaller cuts and protect core services. We stand ready to support those efforts.”
“It’s surprising the governor doesn’t seem to be getting much support from her own party, even though it means protecting some of the states most important services, including education and public safety,” Ivester said. “Senate Democrats stand ready to support Governor Fallin in any way we can, including voting to sustain a veto of any bill containing larger cuts than her proposed budget. Failing to stop further erosion of core services will further diminish the quality of life for Oklahoma’s most vulnerable citizens.”