Senate President Pro Tempore Cal Hobson said Tuesday he is delighted Senate Republicans have recognized the need for additional revenue and have indicated their intention to support a number of the revenue proposals included in Governor Henrys Executive Budget.
This is a positive step forward in the budget process. We have said all along that it will take a bi-partisan effort to write the budget for the coming fiscal year in the face of nearly $700 million in budget cuts, said Hobson, D-Lexington.
Last month, the State Equalization Board certified Fiscal Year 2004 Legislative Appropriations Authority at a level $677.8 million less than lawmakers appropriated last spring for the current fiscal year.
Senator Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Mike Morgan said he had not yet had time to study the specifics of the Republican proposal, but also viewed it as a positive step.
Im extremely pleased that our Republican colleagues have come to the table with their ideas. Obviously, in the negotiations process neither side gets everything it wants. At least now, that negotiating process can begin, said Morgan, D-Stillwater.
Hobson reiterated that while the revenue enhancement measures outlined in the Governor Henrys Executive Budget will lessen the impact of cuts on state agencies, they wont eliminate them.
Oklahoma will suffer greatly as a result of budget cuts that will affect every family in our state if we do not enact other more significant revenue measures, Hobson said.
Hobson has advocated a temporary 1-cent sales tax increase with proceeds earmarked for education.