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Lawmakers Pass Measures To Try To Fill Budget Hole

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

State lawmakers have begun to fill the state's $215 million budget hole, but it's coming without a compromise.

The House passed several measures, allowing them to pull $106 million from carryover funds from last year's and Rainy Day funds. It's meant to help stop the bleeding from the state's core health agencies.

The money is just under half the $215 million shortfall amount. It's unclear how the remaining amount will be found but lawmakers have been talking about removing tax exemptions and cutting other agency budgets. 

Republicans said the measures were a better option to taxing oil and gas, but Democrats are pointing out the moves will actually make it more difficult to deal with next year's shortfall.

"They're using the bait and switch deal, where they're saying we need to pass this tax increase for these poor mental health patients. That was never true," Rep. Kevin Calvey, R-District 82, said.

"Do you not have concerns that, pending the $400 million budget deficit next year, that what we're doing today is going to inhibit our ability come February?" Rep. Eric Proctor, D-District 77, asked.

Another wrinkle in all of this is it still has to pass the Senate. Republican leadership said Monday they weren't told about the plan so it's unclear whether it could hit road blocks during talks in the Senate on Tuesday. 

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