Budget Looks Better, But Lawmaker Warns: More Money, More Problems

  • Joe Wertz

Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa.

Years of state budget cuts could be ending, the Tulsa World’s Wayne Greene reports.

“Right now, the revenues are very good for Oklahoma,” Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, told a Tulsa Metro Chamber luncheon.

But being flush with cash could bring conflict to the state Capitol, Bingman cautioned.

“Any extra money that we do have, that makes it very difficult on the Legislature because you have winners and losers.”

While revenues are good, this year’s budget was built with $600 million in one-time funding, Bingman said, according to the World. Bingman said lawmakers will have to work to fill the gap.

But Bingman said funding education, transportation and rebuilding the state’s “Rainy Day” fund are real possibilities, the World reported. House Speaker Kris Steele added public safety and health care as top funding priorities.

Bingman cited a recent plan to fix state bridges as progress on the transportation front and outlined education-spending priorities, including a flexible benefits health care program for schoolteachers and $5,000 stipends for board-certified teachers, which are the only the state merit pay plans for teachers.