|Senate and House Democrats call for transparent budget process |
OKLAHOMA CITY – On the 92nd day of the 2023 Legislative session, with ten working days remaining, Democratic leaders in both chambers called for transparency and accountability in the state budget process.
“Oklahomans deserve a say in how their tax dollars are spent. They don’t get that say when budgets are prepared behind closed doors at the last minute. We need more than ten days to adequately review whatever budget proposal we are handed by Republicans,” said Senate Democratic Leader Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City.
“When the Republican leaders of our state play these games, real people are the collateral damage,” said House Democratic Leader Cyndi Munson, D-Oklahoma City. “This failure to govern means it will take longer to get a driver’s license, see your doctor, and find the childcare you need.”
In the 2021 legislative session, other states spent an average of 82 days deliberating their budget, and 20 states introduced their budget in the first month, according to a report by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. That year, Oklahoma only spent three days publicly deliberating its budget, which was introduced on the 105th day of the legislative session. This was the third shortest time frame in the country, following Utah and Nevada.
“Oklahoma families should be our number one priority. The dysfunction of this budget process, and specifically the education funding standoff, cheats 700,000 children in Oklahoma out of their future potential,” said House Democratic Caucus Chair Trish Ranson, D-Stillwater.
“The people in my district can’t afford the time we are wasting. Oklahomans have been hit hard the last few years, and they need our support now,” said Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Kevin Matthews, D-Tulsa. “We should be investing in Oklahomans, in things like education, mental health treatment, and job training. We should be looking at innovative solutions for everyone and not winners and losers.”