Gov. Kevin Stitt calls legislative leaders to an unusual budget summit conference on Monday

In the wake of harmful tornadoes throughout Oklahoma and rigidity between House and Senate leaders over the necessity for an revenue tax reduce, Gov. Kevin Stitt is proposing an unusual summit subsequent week to forge settlement on subsequent yr’s state budget.

Speaker Charles McCall, left, welcomes President Pro Tem Greg Treat to the podium in 2023 as Gov. Stitt looks on.Speaker Charles McCall, left, welcomes President Pro Tem Greg Treat to the podium in 2023 as Gov. Stitt looks on.

Speaker Charles McCall, left, welcomes President Pro Tem Greg Treat to the rostrum in 2023 as Gov. Stitt appears on.

The governor despatched an e mail late Wednesday afternoon to Senate Pro Tempore Greg Treat and House Speaker Charles McCall inviting each to a gathering at 2 p.m. Monday to hammer out budget particulars.

“As session is coming to a close, it’s important that we get together to finalize a budget. Both of your transparency efforts have been very encouraging this session,” the governor wrote.

With simply 30 days remaining earlier than the second session of the 59th Oklahoma Legislature adjourns, members of the legislature are really starting to really feel the crunch of the budget writing course of. House and Senate budget negotiators proceed to wrangle over how to spend the roughly $13 billion out there. Key points embody whether or not or not to reduce the private revenue tax, how to rewrite state funding coverage and following by means of on efforts to make your complete budget course of extra clear.

What appeared to be a easily transferring legislative course of earlier this session hit a number of snags this week, together with the abrupt exit of Sen. Roger Thompson because the Senate’s budget chair, the violent weekend storms that may name for vital state catastrophe help and the distraction of a controversial Republican invoice to arrest and take away immigrants recaching Oklahoma with out correct documentation. The immigration invoice sailed by means of each the House and Senate with huge majorities and was signed by the governor to a refrain of objections from Democrats, Hispanic leaders and church buildings.

Time, it appears, is working out for state lawmakers.

Coloring Monday’s summit assembly will likely be a terse and troublesome relationship between the governor and the Senate Republican chief Treat − a political battle that goes again a number of years and which got here to an apex this yr over Treat’s refusal to hear laws that might reduce the private revenue tax. With each Stitt and McCall in favor of the reduce, Treat has mentioned he favors preserving more cash within the state’s reserve accounts − and that was earlier than the latest twister harm.

“I know both chambers are working diligently to come to agreement on budget numbers, and will once again reiterate my priority to pass an income tax cut for all four million Oklahomans,” Stitt wrote in his e mail to Treat and McCall. “I hope that continues to be a topic of conversation in your negotiations.”

Giving the House and Senate simply Thursday and Friday to come to a budget settlement, Stitt provided his assist.

“Should both chambers not reach an agreement by the end of the week, I want to assist by facilitating a meeting between my office and the House and Senate budget negotiators to come to terms on the budget. I want to invite you to a meeting in my office on Monday (5/6/2024) at 2 p.m.”

Stitt additionally mentioned he would “invite the media in an effort to continue your transparency efforts.”

Two hours later, shortly after 6 p.m. Treat replied to the governor − copying each member of.the Legislature on his response.

“Governor, thank you for the invite. I look forward to the opportunity. The budget will not be complete this week, so I and the Senate team will be there at 2,” he wrote. ” Please know that you are welcome to use the Senate Assembly Room to better accommodate members of the legislature, public and the media to be able to observe and so it can be live-streamed, closed captioned and archived.  My staff will be more than happy to assist in getting the word out to the media and the public.”

Treat’s e mail famous he had knowledgeable the Senate Chair and Vice Chair of Appropriations, the Floor Leader, and each member of the legislature, Republicans and Democrats alike, in regards to the Monday conference, “because I hope this is a productive and insightful meeting.”

Treat added: “We haven’t had an opportunity to visit this entire session, so I look forward to sharing the Senate perspective and getting your perspective and the House perspective Monday. I think it is a great idea and we will fully participate.”

Treat’s reply and his inclusion of each state legislator, ensures that a number of of the governor’s budget proposals, together with his name for reduce within the private revenue tax, will not go unchallenged.

Late Wednesday night, McCall mentioned House leaders would settle for the governor’s invitation.

“The House’s current budget proposal has been posted for several weeks, and is available for anyone to access via the House Budget Transparency Portal,” McCall mentioned in a textual content message to The Oklahoman. “We accept the governor’s invitation to conduct joint budget negotiations. The House will send people authorized to negotiate a tax cut for the people of Oklahoma, support law enforcement and finalize a budget.”

The House would additionally welcome members of the media to be in attendance, McCall mentioned, and prefers that these negotiations be live-streamed.

The 2024 legislative session adjourns at 5 p.m. May 31.

This article initially appeared on Oklahoman: Governor Stitt calls for leadership meeting on budget for Monday

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