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House Passes HJR 1014

House Passes HJR 1014

House Passes HJR 1014
Journal Record - March 5, 2009

 Later in the day, state Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Tuttle, presented a resolution that would amend the Oklahoma Constitution. House Joint Resolution 1014 would allow Oklahomans to vote to add an amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution that would allow the Legislature to disregard predetermined formulas for potential budget expenditures.

The resolution is a response to the Helping Oklahoma Public Education (HOPE) Initiative, which is a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment that would require the Oklahoma Legislature to fund public education according to the average per-pupil expenditures of the surrounding states. If the HOPE initiative were already law, the state would have been required to spend an additional $850 million on public education this year, Osborn said. She said that since Oklahoma is already facing a $900 billion shortfall this year, if the HOPE initiative were in place, even the rainy day fund would not cover the expenditure for public education.

“We would have to have massive tax increases or massive spending cuts,” she said. “This is not an anti-education measure.” “(The Legislature) needs to maintain the ability to look at the fiscal health of our state each year,” Osborn said.
State Rep. Scott Inman, D-Oklahoma City, argued against House Joint Resolution 1014.

“I know we are worried about (the passage) of the HOPE initiative,” he said. “But if (the citizens) tell us to do something, we have to do it whether we like it or not. This is saying we can ignore the will of the people.” After the heated debate, the House adopted the proposed resolution by a 64-33 vote.

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