OKLAHOMA CITY - House members reconvened Thursday following a failure to pass a revenue-raising measure one night prior.
House Bill 1054X failed Wednesday on the floor 71-27, just five votes short of what it needed to pass. It would have put taxes on cigarettes, fuel and low-point beer plus a 4 percent gross production tax (GPT) on big oil and gas.
Supporters said the bill would have helped fix the $215 million budget hole and give a pay boost to teachers and state workers.
Rep. Eric Proctor, D-Tulsa voted against the bill, however he told News 4 no bills are ever completely dead in the House. The speaker of the House has the authority to bring it back for a vote, but he said lawmakers should move on and look for other solutions.
"There’s an additional $30 million in revolving funds that the House is going to be sending over as well that will make the cuts less than one percent, and that’s not a positive thing either. That’s not what anybody wants, but I think it’s time for the Senate to do the right thing and pass the revenue," Proctor said.
Despite signing off $23 million in rainy day funds for mental health services this week, Governor Mary Fallin has repeatedly warned the use of one-time money and added HB1054X may be worth reconsidering.
"I’m still hopeful that we’ll be able to have this vote again. It was held over for a vote, and I’m hoping that some will see that it’s not a joke. There are people out there hurting," Fallin said.
Proctor said he agrees, one-time funds should be used repeatedly but they are helpful in this case.
"Governor Fallin says a lot of things that she takes back several days later, so my experience over the last seven years is… she’s not very much of a leader and I don’t think she has a whole lot of respect from either party in this building," Proctor said. "My fear is that, without using the one-time funds in this instance, people are going to get hurt. People are really going to suffer, and they don’t have to."
In response to Proctor's comment, a spokesperson for Governor Fallin's office said they have chosen to pass on commenting on this time.
Due to the failed vote, Sen. Mike Schulz, R-Altus warned budget cuts will be more severe.
"The cuts will be deep and spread out across all government. This is not where any of us wanted to be, but we are here because the revenue bill failed in the House," Schulz said in a statement.
Speaking to reporters shortly after the vote was closed Wednesday, Rep. Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City said he won't support "letting services die."
"The next step is going to have to be auditing agencies and to the citizens in the state of Oklahoma… we’re not done trying. We’re not done pushing forward with these efforts," Echols said.
Both the full House and the Senate are adjourned until Monday.