Special session possible as Gov. Henry and legislative leaders seek more revenue information

Gov. Henry
OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Brad Henry and legislative leaders are considering a special sesssion in September due to the state’s declining revenue outlook.

State officials said they would wait and see how August revenues came out before making a final decision. In the meantime, the governor, House Speaker Chris Benge and Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee said they had made good progress in their budget discussions.

"As our discussions progressed, it became clear we did not have sufficient revenue data in hand to make a good projection for the rest of the fiscal year, and without that information, it would be impossible to restructure the current state budget with any strong degree of confidence," said Gov. Henry.

"Because we are only in the second month of the new fiscal year, we felt it was prudent to review the performance of August revenue collections before we make a new Fiscal Year 2010 estimate," he added.

Speaker Benge, R-Tulsa, said legislators want to see at least one more month of financial data before taking further steps.

"I am extremely concerned about revenue projections for the current fiscal year and believe a lack of action could lead to bigger financial problems for the state down the road," Rep. Benge said.

 "Discussions with the governor’s office and Senate leaders have been productive and will be ongoing as additional financial details become known. We are cognizant of the challenges ahead, and we stand ready to make the tough decisions needed to balance the budget."

Sen. Coffee also said officials want at least one more month of revenue before proceeding with a special session.
"I think this is the judicious course of action at this point, and all options will remain open in the coming weeks and months," Sen. Coffee said.

State lawmakers cut state budgets by an average of eight percent in the regular legislative session that concluded in May, citing the national economic recession.

The state began the fiscal year in July with a smaller budget estimate to reflect the economic downturn, but actual revenue collections have not met the more modest projections.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 26 August 2009 )