OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – While the education debate drags on, the overall budget discussions are on hold and Democrats said they are not being included.
“The entire state runs on the budget and we don’t have one,” said Sen. Kay Floyd, D-OKC.
Floyd, the Senate Democratic Leader, said there are ten scheduled legislative days left in the session.
Democrats argue there hasn’t been any transparency when developing the budget and ten days to review it is not enough time.
“We haven’t seen that information made public and it certainly hasn’t been made public or shared with the Democratic caucus,” said Rep. Cyndi Munson, D-OKC and Minority Floor Leader.
Senate Budget Chair Roger Thompson said the process is open for everyone.
“I have appropriations committee, they will be on that committee. I have basically an open-door policy. They’ll come in from time to time. If I can’t say where we are because I don’t know where we are, but keep them in the loop,” said Thompson.
What’s holding everything up is the education debate.
For months, the House and Senate Republicans have been fighting over the best plan for Oklahomans.
Right now, even Thompson is on the outside looking in when it comes to education.
“On the public education side our original plan was about $500 million. I don’t know how that’s going to be broken down or if that’s going to be our number but you just block that out,” said Thompson.
Other than education, Democrats are focused on health care and child care.
“It’s the foundation. It’s when these kids get their starts, these 3, 4, 5 year olds. And we can have that statewide with a small amount of money out of savings. And it’s not even being discussed, well I don’t know if it’s being discussed because we don’t know what’s being discussed regarding the budget,” said Floyd.
Thompson, one of the highest ranking Republicans in the Senate, said he agreed with Democrats about spending on services like roads, education and health care.
He also doesn’t support tax cuts this session.
The Senate Budget Chair said when the numbers are finalized, he will meet with Senate Minority Leader Floyd.
“As soon as we have those numbers ready I always go and meet with the Democrat caucus and I take our fiscal staff with us we go line by line,” said Thompson.