Historic State Budget Passes House, Senate

Friday, April 27th 2018, 5:51 pm

The State House of Representatives approved a $7.5 billion spending plan that includes the biggest tax increase in the state's history.

Senators approved that same plan earlier this week.

4/25/2018 Related Story: Oklahoma Senate Passes Budget That Includes Teacher Raises

The budget passed in the House after 4 hours of intense debate Friday.  

After 15 months, two special sessions, and a teacher walkout, Republicans are calling it the best budget in recent history.  

"There never has been such a thing as a perfect budget. But this is the best budget I've seen since I've been here. It's the largest appropriations in state history," said Appropriations Chair Kevin Wallace. 

The plan includes a historic 20 percent increase for education funding.

Wrapped into that is an average $6,100 yearly raise for teachers and more money for the classroom.  

But Democrats say it's doesn't replace the hundreds of millions of dollars cut over the years.

"So what are you going to do?  You [are] going to go home and tell your constituents that cutting higher ed by 26 percent, the health department by 27 percent, by cutting common ed when you adjust for inflation by 32 percent, by cutting career tech by 25 percent, juvenile affairs 18 percent, veterans 20 percent over the last decade that somehow they ought to be thankful for that," said Representative Scott Inman. 

Now, the budget only needs the Governor's signature.

Lawmakers said they expect to adjourn the special session next week.