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Budget With $5 Million For Legislative Offices Passes Senate

Kurt Gwartney

Gov. Mary Fallin is expected to sign a bill heading her way that would provide $7.1 billion to fund state government.

The state Senate gave final legislative approval to the general appropriations bill Tuesday that increases spending by nearly $270 million over the current year’s budget.

Eight Republicans joined the dozen Senate Democrats in opposing the legislation.

Some, like Democratic Sen. Constance Johnson, questioned why $5 million was being allocated to renovate legislative offices.

“Why are we prioritizing Senate offices over the ability of working families to continue to strive, to thrive in our economy,” Johnson said.

Appropriations Chair Sen. Clark Jolley argued using that money for ongoing budget needs, like schools, did not make sense.

“As much as we would like to increase education spending, I’d like to ask, ‘Where are you going to take it?’” Jolley said. “We’ve heard, ‘Let’s use it from the money that’s being appropriated to the Senate.’ Those are one–time sources of revenue, those are one–time monies. They go away next year.”

Other areas receiving more money for the fiscal year beginning July 1 include education, health care and human services.

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