Friday, March 30, 2007

Moore American: Lawmakers react to Governor's budget veto

Governor Brad Henry’s veto of a $7 billion budget deal drew praise from two Cleveland County Democrats.

For Rep. Bill Nations, D-Norman, the budget deal and its subsequent veto were a good example of the Legislature’s cumbersome nature. “This is my ninth year here,” Nations said. “And whether it’s policy issues or budget issues, there’s a process involved. It’s often cumbersome; in fact, almost always. There are checks and balances.”

Rep. Wallace Collins, D-Norman, said he was proud of Henry’s veto and “encouraged the governor to do so” in a letter he sent to Henry earlier this week. “While I originally voted for the bill, I thought there were many things left out,” Collins said. “Not knowing the future, I voted ‘yes’ but I held my nose doing it.”

Collins said the measure contained several problems, including a $5 million funding shortage for the Norman Veterans Center. “They have problems with water seepage, mold and outdated technology,” he said. “And their pay rate is too low. They have a high turnover rate which prevents veterans from getting top quality care. These issues need to be addressed, and vetoing the bill would be the way to take care of them.”

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