Oklahoma budget
(Mike Allen)

There is a rumble happening at the Oklahoma State Capitol presently, but it doesn’t seem to be a royal one.

Legislative leaders, including House Speaker Charles McCall (R-Atoka) and Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat (R-OKC), are having a bit of mania as they wrestle with next year’s state budget.

The House would like to increase the education budget by at least $135 million to trigger an existing statute that would cap class sizes in Oklahoma schools, but the Senate worries that other reforms passed this year and the ongoing teacher shortage are reasons to avoid adding a new mandate. As a result, they would like to increase common education by a little less, or at least with different fiscal ramifications.

Toss in a dispute over whether to reform and expand the state’s film industry tax rebate — the Senate is fully exposed, while the House is blurry and would prefer tax cuts — and you have the major topics that have exacerbated this year’s budget battle.

Of course, even if a few leg locks and brainbusters yield leverage one way or another in the House and Senate smackdown, everyone is waiting for Gov. Kevin Stitt’s intro music to play and signal that this saga really will reach a conclusion.

Will Stitt strut in like Vince McMahon? Will he slam beers like Stone Cold Steve Austin? Who will ultimately be victorious in this heavyweight bout?

Maybe we will find out this week. The audience just wants to go home.


Faces and heels: WWE metaphors, doppelgängers for the 2021 Oklahoma Legislature

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