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Oklahoma Democratic legislators want more say in budget process

Oklahoma Democratic legislators want more say in budget process

Budget talks are too secretive and should include a member of the minority party from both the House and Senate, a House Democratic leader says. House Speaker Chris Benge says including too many could complicate negotiations.

NewsOK

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT

Published: May 16, 2010

Democratic legislators want to be more involved in crafting the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, but House Speaker Chris Benge says it would be too unwieldy to include minority party members in the secret budget negotiations.

"It’s an annual complaint by usually whoever’s in the minority,” said Benge, a member of the minority party until Republicans took control of the House after the 2004 elections. "We used to complain about it when we were in the minority as Republicans, and Democrats have always complained about it.

"It is an inclusive process,” said Benge, R-Tulsa. "Sometimes the minority party does not always see it that way.”

Democratic senators lost their seat at the budget table after the GOP claimed the majority in the Senate after the 2008 elections. Democratic legislators, who controlled both houses for 80 years until the 2005 legislative session, are represented in the budget talks by Democratic Gov. Brad Henry... FULL ARTICLE


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