Budget Work Closed

Oklahoma City, OK – While members fret, doors closed on budget

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) While state lawmakers work on bills ranging from abortion to an opt-out of a new federal health care plan what many say they want is a hand in the roughly $6 billion state budget.

But the work is taking place among a handful of state leaders and mostly behind closed doors as the state faces an estimated $1.2 billion shortfall.

Some Republicans and Democrats both say they're upset at the secrecy involved in the budget process. Most members won't get a look at the final product until late in the legislative session which Representative Ryan Kiesel calls "a terrible way to do the budget."

Legislative leaders say it isn't practical to reveal all their ideas until there is some consensus among House and Senate leaders and the governor's office. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Ken Miller says tossing out ideas may get people riled about something that may not be in the final budget.

House and Senate leaders met with the governor last week but are hesitant to discuss the progress of negotiations on the budget.