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Oklahoma Senate Passes FY2018 Budget


The Oklahoma Senate passed a proposed state budget out of their chamber on Wednesday night, by a vote of 33 to 13.

Many Senate Republicans—like Mike Schulz—applauded themselves for holding 16 state agencies flat, and only cutting the rest by about four percent, given the circumstances.

"I just want to take this opportunity to thank this chamber.. Senator David, Senator Fields, all the sub-appropriations chairs, who have been diligently been working towards a solution for this budget for many, many months now."

But Senate Democrats—who uniformly voted against Senate Bill 860—say lawmakers left a lot of money on the table, and could have created a better budget with no cuts.

The budget proposal has changed slightly since lawmakers passed it out of an appropriations committee on Tuesday. Education funding, for example, has increased by about $18 million.

Some of the budget promises hinge on revenue-raising measures that have yet to pass.

Gov. Mary Fallin released a statement on Wednesday afternoon, calling the budget not ideal and warning about its short-sightedness.

"When legislators return next year, they will already face a $400 million hole caused by one-time funds and $100 million of obligations coming due over the next 12 months that will need to be paid."

The bill now heads to the House.

Emily Wendler was KOSU's education reporter from 2015 to 2019.
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