OKLAHOMA CITY (May 13, 2020)— Governor Kevin Stitt today vetoed House Bill 2741, House Bill 2742 and House Bill 2743.
House Bill 2741 and House Bill 2742 would reduce the percentage of revenue appropriated in FY 2021 to the Teachers’ Retirement System, Oklahoma Firefighters’ Pension and Retirement Fund, Police Pension and Retirement System, and Law Enforcement Retirement Fund and increase revenue appropriated to the 1017 Education Fund.
“We have made great progress shoring up our retirement systems in the last few years, and now is not the time to undo that progress,” said Gov. Stitt. “These bills would take tens of millions of dollars away from teachers, law enforcement officers, and firefighters to fund district costs, and it would bring our funding ratio back down to where it was in 2014. While I understand the importance of a balanced budget, it is fiscally irresponsible to do so at the expense of the solvency of these pension systems. I will not play a part in harming Oklahoma’s dedicated teachers and emergency responders.”
House Bill 2743 would take $180,000,000 away from the Rebuilding Oklahoma Access and Driver Safety (ROADS) Fund. This has the potential to cause significant delays in many of the critical infrastructure projects supported by the ROADS Fund, which would jeopardize the progress made by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s Eight Year Plan.
“As Governor, my goal is for Oklahoma to become a Top Ten State. This includes becoming Top Ten in infrastructure, specifically in roads and bridges,” continued Gov. Stitt. “House Bill 2743 would force ODOT to unnecessarily take on additional debt through the use of bonds. Because of the State’s dedication to the ODOT plan, we are now up to 13th in bridges and improving our roads. I understand and agree with the use of bonds in limited circumstances. However, I cannot support the use of bonds to plug budget holes.”
Governor Stitt has not acted on Senate Bill 1922, which is the Legislature’s proposed budget for FY 2021.