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Bullock touts chamber's Medicaid bill support

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 29, 2013 at 3:12 pm •  Published: March 29, 2013

The Senate starts working on a budget next week, even as disparate partisan priorities threaten to eat up all the state's surplus. Bullock expects the lawmakers to restore federal family planning money yanked by conservatives opposed to Planned Parenthood. The governor is also anticipating an increase in education funding to stick.

And, so far, Bullock has been opposed to the tax cut plans proposed by Republican leaders because he argues they send too much of the benefit to those who don't need it and offer chump change to average earners. Bullock wants a $400 per-homeowner rebate.

But Bullock maintained such a slate, if passed, would be fair for conservatives in the Legislature.

"I think they could walk out with a great victory saying that they were responsible with our budget and did great things for the state going forward," Bullock said.

Republican leaders expect more.

"Obviously, we have been open to a lot of his proposals," Blasdel said.

Blasdell said he "absolutely" believes that conservative priorities such as tax cuts should be part of the final mix.

"I believe there will be a balance struck," Blasdel said.

But Blasdel is not so certain he can hold off Medicaid expansion that he opposes, which he said "puts the state at risk long term."

So far, those proposals to expand Medicaid have been tabled in GOP-controlled committees. But other parliamentary moves remain to advance the bills, and advocates are hoping to get a Senate floor vote next week on the issue.

"Nothing is ever dead in this building," Blasdell lamented.

Bullock agreed with the House's top Republican on that point.

"It's all alive until the end," the governor said.