Shortfall Might Spark Special Session

Shortfall Might Spark Special Session

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

Is there any fat left to trim from agency budgets? Does the budget we passed this past session still work in light of revenue shortfalls? These are the type of questions that may spark a special session this fall.

The budget we passed in May assumed we would bring in $6.51 billion in revenue during this budget year, which began in July. The revenue that is coming in is below that figure, although we designed the current budget assuming less money would be available than in the prior year. Although we are not facing a crisis like many of the other states around the nation, we need to address the shortfall through targeted cuts that protect vital areas of the budget that are most critical. Without a special session, the shortfall will be handled solely through automatic, across-the-board cuts.

Whether or not a special session is called will be determined by whether or not revenue stabilizes, falls further or increases. In the meantime, I continue to travel my district.

Compressed Natural Gas

I attended the grand opening of an OnCue compressed natural gas station in Oklahoma City with House Speaker Chris Benge. Oklahoma is third among states in the production of compressed natural gas and its promotion is vital to our state’s economy and to employing Oklahomans. It is also vital for national security reasons that we wean ourselves off of foreign oil. I could not be more proud that the Legislature and private companies in Oklahoma are working together to promote its use.

Department of Human Services

I’ve attended two town hall meetings in Seiling regarding concerns over problems in the way the Department of Human Services operates. Though the Legislature did enact DHS reforms this past session, the fact that child molesters are still showing up as foster parents shows that more is needed.

Painting in Okeene

Boy Scout Troop 169 of Okeene has been selected to beautify the Okeene city park with a fresh coat of paint on their park structures as a part of the 2009 Fresh Paint Days project designed to encourage volunteers to seek out unsightly community structures and renovate them.

On Sept. 17, I will join volunteers in picking up paint in Woodward. The paint will be donated by H.I.S. Pain Manufacturing Oklahoma City and we will also have a stipend for supplies funded by Public Service Company of Oklahoma. Then we’ll get to using it, transforming the buildings over a period of days.

District Events

I thoroughly enjoyed the county fairs in Kingfisher, Blaine and Major counties and am looking forward to the Dewey County Fair. I also visited Ames for the annual Ames Days. They put on a great display of fireworks.

One other event I was proud to attend was a ceremony in which the Occupation Safety and Health Administration recognized the U.S. Gypsum Plant with an award.

I also spoke to a Kingfisher County retired teachers’ association about health benefits and how they should receive fair COLA’s. I also want to congratulate two district fire departments on their latest vehicles. The Kingfisher Fire Department has acquired a state-of-the-art water tank truck and a new ladder truck. The Isabella Fire Department has acquired a brush pumper.

Nellie, Davis and I are looking forward to the Friday night football games. We are planning on hitting many football games throughout the district.

If you have any questions or concerns I can be reached at my office at the Capitol at (405) 557-7407.

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