Senate president Pro Tempore Brian Bingman issued the following statement after the full Senate approved supplemental appropriations for Education and Corrections on Tuesday.
“Education and public safety are top priorities in the state Senate, which is why we’ve worked hard to shield them from the severe budget cuts other agencies have experienced during these tough times. Unfortunately, state revenues continue to suffer because of the dramatic downturn in oil and gas prices which is why more cuts are necessary to maintain a balanced budget this fiscal year. Using Rainy Day Funds will lessen the impact of these budget cuts on students, while also preventing cuts at state prisons. I appreciate my Senate colleagues for acting quickly on these measures to help these agencies.
“We understand the tough job facing teachers and appreciate their hard work. We’ve worked to limit education funding cuts to 1.85 percent in recent years at a time when other agencies have seen budget cuts of as much as 20 to 30 percent. Protecting education funding from such severe budget reductions shows our appreciation for the role teachers play in preparing the next generation of Oklahoma leaders for success. The Senate will continue to pursue reforms to free educators from government red-tape and get more dollars into the classroom so teachers are able to focus more on the most important part of their job: our children.”—Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa
Statement from Senate Appropriations Chair Clark Jolley on approval by the Senate of supplemental appropriations for Education and Corrections:
“Education and public safety are core government services—and it’s crucial for us to provide these funds to help both get through this budget year.
“The reality is the current economic climate is going to impact our state for some time to come, not just in FY 2017, but in FY 2018 as well. These supplemental appropriations will provide relief this year, while ensuring Oklahoma will still have resources available in the Rainy Day Fund for the challenges ahead.”—Senate Appropriations Chair, Clark Jolley, R-Edmond.