OKLAHOMA CITY - For the first time since 2007, lawmakers met at the State Capitol on a Saturday. However, little to no progress was made on coming up with a budget that would address a nearly $880 million shortfall.
“We cannot in good conscience ask the citizens of Oklahoma to bear hundreds of millions of dollars of tax increases while the oil and gas industry gets asked to contribute $13 million, more the cost of just one well," said Democrat Minority Leader Scott Inman.
Oil and gas was a big topic, especially when it comes to digging the state out of a huge financial hole. House Democrats want to raise the tax on oil and gas production to 7 percent and Republicans are aiming to keep it at 2 percent. But Inman says Republicans came up with the 5 percent figure.
“After several hours, after several days, we were offered five percent on all new wells," said Inman. "We took it to our caucus, the senate leader took it to his caucus, and our caucus accepted 5 percent on all new wells.”
However, House Speaker Charles McCall, a Republican, says that wasn't the case.
"There was never an offer made by myself for 5 percent GPT," he said. "We clearly came in with the position of 2 percent GPT where we currently are, saying that we could consider a position of 3. "They have came in with a position of 5 percent GPT. It’s very obvious where the clear, middle ground is.
Middle ground, but when will both sides get there?
“We can bring our caucus to a vote on GPT at 4 percent. That is not where we think is the best spot at this time, but we are willing to do that," said McCall.
“If they choose to continue to walk away from the table and not work with us, then we’re definitely looking at a special session," said Inman.
“You cannot hold the State of Oklahoma hostage over petty politics," said McCall.
Both the House and the Senate plan to meet again on Monday.