High Fire Danger
Warmer temperatures to stick around through the weekend!

Could Oklahoma budget crisis affect holiday spending?

OKLAHOMA CITY- As the Oklahoma State Legislature continues in gridlock without a budget, state employees have mixed feelings about their job security.

"It doesn’t worry me that much, I'm pretty sure they know what they are doing and everything like that. And as far as I know, they have been taking care of us so I'm not really to worried about it," says Billy Sunkin, a state employee.

However, not everyone feels the same.

"They gotta figure out something over there 'cause this is killing everybody, the state employees are really hurting," said Lindsay Smith, another state employee.

Whether they are worried or not, Tom Dunning of the Oklahoma Public Employees Association knows it's on his constituents' minds.

"They've been talking about uncertainty since the end of the last legislative session. Our folks are very tuned into what happens at the Capitol because it affects them directly," said Dunning.

The effects could also be felt at the store counters this holiday season.

There are roughly 35,000 state employees making an average of $44,000 a year, that's over $1.54 billion.  Being hesitant to spend could affect the state economy as a whole.

"Especially in agencies like the Department of Health; not only have those folks not had pay raises but because of the furloughs, they are undergoing they are actually losing money as much as 15% of their paycheck. So as the holiday season comes on, they are really having to think about where their financial priorities go," said Dunning.

Dunning does have advice for state employees.

"State employees and retired state employees need to be active  and talking to their legislators about what is Oklahoma’s priority."