OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz on Thursday commented on the ongoing work to reach a budget agreement in advance of next week's special session.
"All along, I've encouraged lawmakers to put Oklahoma's interests ahead of their own political interests. I'm encouraged by the ongoing work of the Senate and House toward reaching a budget agreement. I'm also encouraged by the public comments of the House Minority Leader who indicated ample members of his caucus would support a cigarette tax bill. I hope he is serious and that he can deliver. If given the chance, I'm confident the Senate can pass a cigarette tax bill. This is the clearest option available to address the $215 million budget hole. It's an idea that's been thoroughly vetted and one that could be considered quickly during the special session to help shore up funding for three important health care agencies. Additionally, the cigarette tax would improve health outcomes by reducing smoking rates and stopping young Oklahomans from ever lighting up - two things that will save money in the long run. The Senate continues to prepare for the special session and is ready to get to work to solve these problems."Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz, R-Altus