Senate Session Update – Week 2


February 16, 2017

Week No. 2 of 56th Legislature

Senate Bills introduced in 2017: 831 SJRS introduced in 2017: 46

TEACHER PAY RAISES

Oklahoma Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education passed 6 teacher pay raise bills

o The slate of bills offer a variety of options in implementing a pay raise

 We respect teachers and understand the tough and important job they have – that’s why Senate Republicans have made increasing teacher salaries a key item in our legislative agenda.

 Teacher pay raises is a top priority for Senate Republicans, and we’re working to take the best ideas to advance the best possible plan for a teacher pay raise that’s funded in a sustainable manner.

BUDGET

The latest report of General Revenue Fund collections reminds us of the budget challenge for this year

o GRF collections were nearly 3 percent below the estimate

 It’s also a reminder of the need for long-range planning and thinking – and that’s what Senate Republicans are focused on when it comes to the state budget.

 Part of the effort at long-range thinking is finding sustainable sources of revenue so future lawmakers won’t be grappling with the same financial struggles we are now. Ideas like:

o Apportionment reform: (off-the-top money) gives legislators more flexibility to shift resources to core government functions

o Tax credit reforms: key part of the Senate agenda

o Agency efficiencies: Lawmakers’ job in “good” budget years and “bad” budget years is to push agencies to use tax dollars wisely and efficiently as possible

 At the end of the day, Senate Republicans want to balance the budget in a way that mitigates the effects of budget cuts as much as possible.

o Senate Appropriations Committee working quickly to advance budget measures

o Senate has been hard at work on this budget since last year; practically a year-round effort to craft a budget.

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