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Session Begins Third Week but Still No Budget Deal

from Tulsa World

No deal has been finalized for fixing a $729 million hole in Oklahoma's current-year budget. But, as the Legislature gears up for the beginning of its third week on Monday, Gov. Brad Henry and Republican leaders in the House and Senate say such a deal is in the works.

Henry has proposed spending about $485 million of the nearly $600 million in the state's Rainy Day Fund, but legislative leaders want to spend no more than $225 million. Henry said at a legislative forum on Friday that, eventually, a consensus will be reached and everyone will come together to get it done.

A deal reached among Henry, House Speaker Chris Benge and Senate President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee would use a combination of reserve funds, stimulus money and state agency budget cuts to close the $729 million gap.

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