Oklahoma Politics: May 2005 Archives

This morning the Tulsa Whirled scolded Oklahoma House Speaker Todd Hiett for not expediting the passage of HB 1617, a bill that would impose a nearly $100 million tax increase on specialty hospitals to provide additional funding for Oklahoma's Medicaid system and gain nearly $200 million in federal matching funds.

If HB 1617 had passed, there likely would have been a constitutional challenge over whether the funding was a tax increase or a fee, which affects whether a statewide vote is required.

This afternoon, Speaker Hiett announced a plan -- HB 1088 -- that would appropriate the needed $63 million from existing gas recertification revenues and gain the federal match, without raising taxes or fees. The plan would also direct the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to identify $100 million in "excessive administrative costs, waste, overhead, and program abuses," which Hiett calls an "achievable goal."

You can read Speaker Hiett's press release here.

Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan, a Democrat, was present at the press conference, enthusiastically supporting the GOP proposal. (His remarks begin about 7 minutes into the press conference; you'll find links to audio by following the link to the press release.)

House Republicans have again demonstrated that it does matter who holds the majority in the state legislature. While they've had support from Democrats on key issues -- and Democrat leaders like Mike Morgan deserve credit for not being obstructionists -- the difference this year is the determination of the Republican House leadership and caucus to find a way to solve the problems without abandoning Republican principles. Their brethren in Washington could learn some lessons from our Oklahoma legislators.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Oklahoma Politics category from May 2005.

Oklahoma Politics: April 2005 is the previous archive.

Oklahoma Politics: July 2005 is the next archive.

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