Timing said to be wrongAt the state level, hundreds of state agency employees have lost their jobs or been furloughed in the past year. Lawmakers passed a $6.7 billion budget in May that is 7.6 percent less than the current year's budget. The largest state worker's group, the Oklahoma Public Employees Association, spent considerable time during this past Legislative session lobbying lawmakers to save state workers' jobs. Typically, the group lobbies for pay and benefits increases. OPEA Executive Director Sterling Zearley said "it is difficult to imagine a scenario” this year in which a public agency like the library system could justify salary increases and a multimillion dollar budget surplus. "Our association would not begrudge a public employee a pay raise in most circumstances but the timing of this along with the large carryover in their budget does not look good to the association nor is it easily sold to the public,” Zearley said.