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Stalemate on Oklahoma budget raises special session concerns

Oklahoma Capitol

OKLAHOMA CITY – A stalemate in the Oklahoma Legislature over how to fill an $878 million hole in next year’s state budget and Gov. Mary Fallin’s vow to veto any spending plan that includes dramatic cuts to vital public services is making the possibility of a special budget-writing legislative session more likely.

Republican and Democratic leaders say they are exchanging ideas on how to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue and balance the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 and avoid catastrophic cuts to state agencies.

But negotiations remain unresolved with just two weeks left before lawmakers are constitutionally required to adjourn May 26.

Failure to reach agreement on the budget will likely force lawmakers to return to the state Capitol in June to complete their work.