Senator Kenneth Corn said today that Republicans in the House are looking for nothing more than political cover with their latest press release that falsely accuses Senate Democrats of stalling on funding for Oklahoma prisons. Corn said the refusal by Republican Speaker of the House Todd Hiett to address the issue during a special session shows Republicans have taken a do-nothing approach to public safety.
“The Senate passed a corrections plan more than three months ago that would have immediately appropriated the funds necessary to hire additional correctional officers for Oklahoma’s growing prison crisis,” Senator Kenneth Corn, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety, said. “Oklahomans are beginning to question the rhetoric of Republicans when it comes to public safety and now they need cover for their inaction so they have resorted to spreading lies about Senate Democrats. Shame on them for this sort of behavior.”
Corn, (D-Poteau) said Senate Democrats are not interested in any plan that asks a state agency to engage in deficit spending. He said the Republican plan to increase the pay of correctional officers and hire additional staff for Oklahoma prisons is nothing more than a wink and promise.
“I am puzzled why Republicans would ever come up with such an irresponsible plan,” Corn said. “For a party that pays so much lip service to being fiscally responsible, they sure are eager to spend money the Department of Corrections (DOC) simply does not have.”
Corn said, in sharp contrast to the Republican “spend now-pay later” plan, the agreements announced this week with the Centennial Commission and the Department of Human Services does not require agencies to engage in deficit spending.
“Trying to compare the agreements announced this week and an agreement for DOC funding is like trying to compare apples to oranges, and we all learned in kindergarten that you can’t do that,” Corn said. “This is nothing more than an attempt on the part of Republicans to paint Democrats as anti-public safety and nothing could be further from the truth.
“Further, if Republicans were truly concerned about the safety of Oklahoma communities they would stop using this issue as a political football, show up to the Capitol and pass the prison funding plan that passed out of the Senate more than three months ago.”