OKLAHOMA – Governor Mary Fallin laid out her budget proposal Wednesday afternoon.
It highlights five concepts she said will add up to nearly $1.3 billion.
A big part of that comes from borrowing money.
Her plan includes $600 million in bonds.
That’s money we’ll be paying for the next 25 years.
She said her plan will also save nearly $240 million in tax reforms.
“We’ve got to fix the structure of the budget, so that we don’t continually have these budget shortfalls,” Fallin said.
A tax reform package is at the heart of the senate’s budget plan.
The senate finance chairman said their tax credit reforms could save $200 million a year.
“What we’re building here in the senate is a well-balanced plan that will get state government living within its means, avoiding these past mistake of one-time funding gimmicks and orchestrating a well-balanced budget,” said Sen. Mike Mazzei.
The senate plan would affect low and middle income families.
Senate leaders want to eliminate the child tax credit, meaning you can’t get that tax credit for having a child.
They said it would save more than $27 million a year.
“We already have in our tax code a personal exemption. We’ve raised the standard deduction for all household since I’ve been here. There’s also the earned income tax credit for low income households, and there’s also the sales tax relief credit,” Mazzei said.
Mazzei said a lot of families now are benefiting from all of those and not paying any taxes.
Instead, they’re getting a check from the state.
His plan would cap the amount of money paid out in those earned income tax credits for low income families, who right now automatically get a $300 check from the state each year because of their income.
A big chunk of the bond money in Fallin’s plan would go to roads, and the rest would keep our programs afloat.
When we asked her about borrowing so much money, she said its a tough choice but feels keeping incentives in place for industries like oil and gas is key for attracting jobs.
The budget negotiations will likely last several more weeks.