In its second special session, Oklahoma lawmakers — the House voting 67-24 Monday, then the Senate voting 29-12 Wednesday — pushed HB 1020xx through this week, sending the measure to Gov. Mary Fallin's desk.

In its second special session, Oklahoma lawmakers — the House voting 67-24 Monday, then the Senate voting 29-12 Wednesday — pushed HB 1020xx through this week, sending the measure to Gov. Mary Fallin's desk.

Sen. Ron Sharp said, frustrated, he voted no on the cut-and-slash budget that will carry the State until June 30, 2018.

“With rising costs to Medicaid, due to an increase in our aging population, plus a 50,000 increase in student enrollment in the last five years, the budget situation is difficult to sustain,” he said.

The energy sector collapse, combined with the income tax cuts since 2004 and 2014 are taking its toll on the state's revenue, he said.

“Nearly all state agencies have sustained a 45-percent cut during the last five years,” Sharp said.

HB 1020xx would create more cuts to education — for a total of $340 million for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, he said.

While he understands the circumstance of the legislature passing HB 1020 xx at this point in the 2017-18 budget year, he said it is just to unbearable to vote in favor of the consequences of the legislation.

Reps. Dell Kerbs and Josh Cockroft voted in favor of the bill.

Sharp said he did not fault his district's house members for voting for the agreement because, “in reality they had no other choice under the circumstance.”

Sharp said with only four months left in the fiscal budget year, any revenue increase passed at this point would be unable to provide the additional revenue to have prevented these cuts in HB 1020xx.

“For legislators to assert there is still time to address the 2017-18 budget shortfall is not being honest,” he said, “or they lack a knowledge of the constitutional restrictions.”

In 1941, voters approved a Balanced Budget amendment which limits the legislature to spend only the money it collects in taxes.

Under the Oklahoma Constitution any revenue bill can not be implemented until 90 days after it is enacted by the legislature, he said. The 90-day period after enactment allows for court challenges to the revenue bills, which would be inevitable, Sharp said.

“Subsequently, there would only be one month of revenue available if a new revenue bill were passed today,” he said.

But, that's only if it wasn't challenged by the court.

Sharp said any tax increase enacted would be regressive to the individuals forced to pay, so a court challenge based on an undue burden or discrimination is inevitable.

“The court challenge would also delay implementation of any tax,” he added.

Since school districts must hire teachers by August, he said any salary increase for the next school year would be impossible — the money would not be available for the salary increases.

Sharp said the inability of the House to reach the three-fourths supermajority threshold in either the A + Plan or the Step Up Oklahoma plan has placed the state into fiscal problems.

“However, all of our local Pottawatomie County representatives voted for both revenue plans,” he said.

Sharp said a bill enacted in 1992 — SQ 640 — is partly to blame for lawmakers' inability to secure enough new funds to fill the budget hole.

“It has made it too difficult for the legislature to increase revenue,” he said.

There is estimated about $150 million in additional revenue, he said, but nearly $300 million needed to fill the gap in financial burdens.