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Lights out at the Oklahoma State Capitol
Thursday, October 19, 2017 6:50 AM

As Oklahoma’s Special Legislative Session drags on, many Capitol observers are of the opinion lawmakers are in the dark. And now they are, literally.

With no apparent deal in sight to address a $215 million shortfall, the state Capitol building has gone dark to replace the electrical system, so it will be at least another week before the Legislature can take up a budget fix.

Meanwhile, the stalemate is threatening to eliminate important services for many of the state’s neediest residents. Three weeks ago, Gov. Mary Fallin convened a special session of the Oklahoma Legislature to address the budget gap.

But, so far it has yet to produce anything but three weeks of closed-door meetings.  According to those familiar with those meetings, a deep political divide has paralyzed the process.

The biggest obstacles appear to be in the House of Representatives, which has been unable to muster the supermajority needed to raise revenue. The lack of new revenue means targeted spending cuts and the use of one-time funds to plug budget holes.

House Minority Floor Leader Scott Inman, D-Del City, is running for governor. He has said his caucus will not support Republican proposals including a $1.50-per-pack cigarette tax increase unless other revenue-raising measures, such as a hike in the gross production tax and income tax increases on high-wage earners, are also included.

Negotiations between leaders in both chambers are ongoing.

If you have questions, please contact Oklahoma Credit Union Association President Nate Webb at nwebb@okcua.coop or 405-445-1510.