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Oklahoma's House speaker says deal not over

Oklahoma's House speaker says deal not over

Budget: Governor’s budget proposal called a surprise



Published: February 5, 2010

A curve ball thrown by the governor hasn’t fanned an agreement to balance the current 2010 fiscal year budget, House Speaker Chris Benge said Thursday.

Benge, R-Tulsa, said he was surprised when the Democratic governor this week called for spending about $424.1 million, or about 80 percent, of the state’s savings account to take care of an estimated $530 million deficit at the end of this fiscal year, or June 30.

A budget agreement announced last week by Benge, Gov. Brad Henry and Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, called for using about $223 million, or less than 40 percent, of the Rainy Day Fund to balance the 2010 fiscal year budget. The rest was to be available for the 2011 fiscal year or beyond; Coffee had hoped to leave $150 million in the Rainy Day Fund when work on both budgets was done.

"I don’t think it’s an agreement breaker,” Benge said. "We can continue forward. We will use (federal) stimulus money for the balance. I think it will work out just fine... FULL ARTICLE

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