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Senate Republicans Say Jobs, Budget Top Priorities (Jan 19, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY - State Senate Republicans today outlined their agenda for the next legislative session, and their proposals follow familiar themes.

Job creation and the ongoing fiscal crisis are the top legislative priorities for Republican state Senators in 2011.

Republican Floor Leader Mike Shulz said the lack of money in the state treasury is an opportunity.

“If you take the money that was appropriated last year and subtract off this year’s certified number, that number is going to be somewhere around 600 million," Shulz said. "What that means to us is we believe that government is still 600 million dollars too big.”

Senate President Pro Temp Brian Bingman said he doesn’t want to see across the board budget cuts, but all state agencies are being asked to prepare to spend less money.

“We’ve got the 600 million dollar number we’re looking at," Bingman said. "So I’m asking everyone to put their surgical gloves on and start looking at areas where we can cut. I hesitate to say ‘let’s do across the board cut’, because maybe some agencies are more efficient, maybe are more in need than others. So, right now we need to look at targeting certain areas.”

State lawmakers said they’re looking at having to cut 500-to-600 million dollars from the state budget for the next fiscal year.

Senate Republicans said public safety, education and transportation would remain budget priorities in the legislative session which begins next month.


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