“I’m willing to consider all different options,” Gov. Fallin addresses viewer questions regarding budget crisis

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OKLAHOMA CITY - The clock is ticking for Oklahoma lawmakers to come up with a plan to balance the budget.

With only 11 days left for lawmakers to present a plan to fill a nearly $900 million budget shortfall, Gov. Mary Fallin says they still haven't sent a budget to her desk.

Republicans are pushing House Bill 2365, which calls for an increase to taxes on cigarettes and gasoline. However, Democrats say they want to increase the gross production tax on oil and gas companies.

"I'm willing to consider all different options. Back in February, I laid out a lot of ideas, some of them I didn't even like myself, but the problem is serious with our budget shortfall. We have to change the structure and put a solid foundation in our budget so that we reach a process so we can fund core services. I said I'm open to looking at all ideas. The problem is that you've gotta get the House, the Senate, the Republicans, the Democrats to come along to send something to me and so what I told them yesterday is, 'Look, we've got about 11 days left , now less because they've already left for the weekend, now we only have 10 days left to figure out the budget shortfall," Fallin told NewsChannel 4 on Thursday.

When asked again about those three issues, Fallin says that she would need to know exactly how much money those proposals would earn before she signed them.

A viewer asked how much money could be brought in by taxing medical and recreational marijuana, but Gov. Fallin says that is not an option.

"Zero, because I'm not willing to do that. We have horrible substance abuse problems in the state of Oklahoma right now. You see articles on your station, news stories about people who are addicted, people who have problems and get arrested and end up in prison because they're high, they're drunk," Fallin said.

Fallin says that law enforcement agencies in Colorado are having a problem with marijuana, adding that businesses are moving out of the state due to the laws.

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