Oklahoma lawmakers announce budget deal
OKLAHOMA CITY – Against the backdrop of the Blue Room, Governor Mary Fallin announced the 2014 budget Thursday afternoon.
“This is a smart and strategic budget that addresses tax priorities,” Gov. Fallin said. “It also allows us to address strategic issues that affect Oklahomans.”
Fallin said the deal provides for targeted spending increases throughout the state including $91 million for education, $33 million for higher education, $40 million for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and $1.2 million to support DHS initiatives reducing infant mortality.
All of that will be part of the Sooner state’s $7.2 billion budget.
“It is a fiscally conservative budget, too, because it does hold the line on spending for most state agencies,” Gov. Fallin said.
One thing that doesn’t change, though, is pay for the roughly 34,000 state employees in Oklahoma.
They have not seen an across-the-board pay raise since 2006 and 2014 will not include one either.
At a rally late Thursday afternoon, union leaders and members met to protest not only the budget but the overall actions of Oklahoma lawmakers.
“They have been doing nothing but assaulting workers and working families,” one rally attendee said.
Back at the state house there was only praise for Thursday’s deal.
“Three months and two days that it took us to get a budget,” Sen. Brian Bingman said. “I mean, that doesn’t happen very often.”