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.
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.